The Finance Ministry on Friday said that for all air travels where the government bears the cost, the tickets will be purchased from either of the three agents —Balmer Lawrie, Ashok Travels & Tours, and IRCTC.
In an office memorandum, the Department of Expenditure under the Finance Ministry said the decision has been taken in view of the disinvestment of Air India.
“In all cases of air travel where the Government of India bears the cost of air passage, air tickets shall be purchased from the three authorised travel agents viz. Balmer Lawrie & Company Limited (BLCL), Ashok Travels & Tours (ATT), Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC),” it said.
The choice of the travel agent for booking of the ticket by the individual ministry/ department will depend on the quality of service provided, additional facilities viz. excess baggage., cancellation and rescheduling facility, said the expenditure department.
The administrative ministries of the three authorised agents will also ensure that all the three agencies, apart from providing facilities through dedicated staff, also provide an option for booking tickets directly through an application as functionality on their website, specifically for the central government employees posted in areas in the country where the services of authorised travel agents may not be easily available.
The Department of Expenditure in a 2009 order had said in cases of air travel (both domestic and international), including LTC where the Government of India bears the cost of air passage, the officials may travel only by Air India.
After its decision to sell Air India to Tata group for Rs 18,000 crore, the government in October had asked ministries and departments to clear dues of debt-laden Air India immediately and, henceforth, purchase tickets only in cash.
The government is looking to complete the sale process of Air India to the Tata group by next month.