Antonio “Tony” Machorro, who serves as the lead for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in implementing the Department-wide initiative of eliminating non-mission critical travel, is always searching for ways to reduce TSA’s travel costs.
Tony’s enthusiasm for finding efficiencies has resulted in a variety of creative ways to save money, including changes in travel for employees on temporary assignments, frequent outreach to employees about how to get the most out of their travel budgets, and even a new pilot program using non-refundable airfares for government travel.
This new pilot program is based on the idea that, when it comes to routine travel, the small number of cancellation or change fees that result from using less-expensive but non-refundable airfares would end up costing the government less than always buying more expensive but fully refundable airfares. Since December 2009, approximately 10 field airports have actively participated in the pilot program, buying non-refundable airfares for approximately fifty routine trips—and achieving a cost avoidance rate of approximately 53 percent.
As a result of this program and other changes, TSA was able to reduce the average employee trip cost in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2009 by 21% compared to the previous year. In fact, during fiscal year 2009, TSA reduced overall travel expenditures by $19 million over fiscal year 2008 expenditures.
As the second year of the Efficiency Review gets underway, Tony’s efforts will lead to even more ways to stretch TSA’s travel dollars – as will the commitment of employees across the Department to ensuring DHS is getting the most out of our resources to make DHS a leaner, smarter agency better equipped to protect the nation.