$377m on Australia govt air travel02 July 2015 by News Desk
Government officials in Australia spent $377 on air travel last year.
Now, in a bid to save money, the government has told airlines that it wants to receive frequent flyer points earned by its officials to cut the cost of future flights. The government also wants fixed price discounted fares on main airline routes and limousines for MPs and top officials.
Government travellers do not currently receive frequent flyer points but get credits towards ‘perks’ such as access to VIP lounges.
Latest figures show 64% of government air travel is domestic while 36% of flights are international, involving 150 govt agencies and 100,000 travellers. The government is the largest air travel user in Australia, followed by BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and the major banks. Main domestic routes used by government officials are Sydney-Canberra, Melbourne-Canberra and Canberra-Brisbane. Most-used international routes are Perth-Christmas Island, Sydney-Los Angeles and Sydney-Singapore.
In additional to passengers, government air travel includes transport of prisoners, asylum seekers, witnesses and dangerous goods including firearms, handcuffs and hazardous chemicals.
A current government air travel contract expires in 2016 and officials are now seeking to establish a new cost-cutting deal with domestic carriers Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Regional Express along with 11 international carriers including Air New Zealand, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and United Airlines.