The Department of Finance and Deregulation has sent out an advisory to all federal government departments about new requirements for official travel, ahead of the announcement of the winner of a travel management tender later this year.
Under the new policies, public servants will have to ensure that other alternatives to travel, such as phone or videoconferencing, have been considered, while they will also be forced to purchase the lowest practical fare, without considering airline loyalty schemes, a preference or jets or whether it is a full service carrier or not. Those staff travelling on a fare other than the lowest practical fare will have to document their reasons for doing so.
The changes come as Virgin Blue and Qantas await the outcome of a tender called last year by the same Department for three whole-of-government travel contracts. Virgin Blue CEO Brett Godfrey recently told media that he expects that the airline will gain even if it is not directly awarded a contract as it offers low fares on a number of routes.