Govt employees should book air tickets for official meetings/ LTA at least 3 weeks in advance: Ministry
The Finance Ministry has advised government employees to book air tickets for official meetings or (Leave Travel Allowance) at least 21 days in advance. Also, they will not be eligible for mileage points for travel on government accounts.
Since the government and government employees are one of the biggest consumers of airlines, these instructions hold significance.
“Employees are encouraged to book flight tickets at least 21 days prior to the intended date of travel on tour and LTC, to avail of the most competitive fares and minimise burden on the exchequer. Bookings may be made even if the approval of the tour programme is still under process,” an office memorandum modifying instructions regarding Booking of Air Tickets on Government account said. Normally, airlines offer some discounted tickets for booking in advance, say 21 days or 30 days before the date of travel.
Post privatisation of Air India, the government decided that in all cases of air travel where the Centre bore the cost of air passage, air tickets will be purchased only from the three authorized travel agents – Balmer Lawrie & Company Ltd (BLCL), Ashok Travels & Tours (ATT) and Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC), No agency charges/ convenience fees will be paid to these three booking agencies.
Employees are to choose flights having the Best Available Fare on their entitled travel class, which is the Cheapest Fare available, preferably for non-stop flights in a given slot at the time of booking. Each slot will have a three-hour time band. Instructions further said employees are also encouraged to avoid unnecessary cancellations. Cancellations made less than 24 hours before intended travel, will require the submission of a self-declared justification by the employee.
Employees should preferably book only one ticket for each leg of intended travel. Holding of more than one ticket is not allowed. However, in case of special exigencies or exceptional circumstances, a maximum of two tickets for the alternative flights for different time-slot may be booked for same leg of travel, with the self-declared justification for the same. All the employees have also been asked to submit a certificate/ undertaking within 72 hours of completion of journey. This will ensure timely payment of air ticket to the travel agents.
The Ministry has also said all Ministries/ Departments are to clear their dues on account of air ticket to the concerned travel agent within a maximum of 30 days from completion of journey. Ministries/Departments must clear all previous outstanding dues to the travel agents by August 31, 2022. “No Mileage Points will be generated against travel on Government account,” OM mentioned, while adding that all Ministries/Departments are directed to ensure strict compliance of the order.
June 17, 2022