Unnecessary plane flights

The AP reports that the Government Accountability Office will release a report today finding that NASA often flew its personnel on its own aircraft instead of utilizing commercial flights, spending an extra $20 million in the process in fiscal years 2003 and 2004. Current NASA administrator Mike Griffin has promised to reform NASA’s travel policies to limit the use of its own aircraft. While $20 million is not much in the larger scheme of things, like a $16-billion annual budget, it is a bit embarrassing at a time when NASA is tying to convince Congress and the public that it can be fiscally prudent as it plans a human return to the Moon. (As you may recall, this issue was supposed to be the topic of a Congressional hearing that has been delayed twice, once because of the August recess and once because of hurricane-related hearings; it has not been rescheduled.)

5 comments to Unnecessary plane flights

  • billg

    This is a well-polished baseball bat used to bash any agency that flies its own planes. In the distant past when I was a DoD employee, the Air Force maintained a smalt fleet to shuttle folks between D.C. and major installations. Did it waste money? Well, that depended on what the airlines happened to be charging that year. One year’s stats might show waste, the next year’s might show savings (assuming anyone bothered to look).

    The real question about these in-house airlines is whether they need to exist at all, not if they’re more expensive than commercial carriers.

  • It’s interesting that this is linked to Sean O’Keefe, Mr. Bean Counter. Managers who have entirely the wrong perspective, in this case counting beans instead of engineering, often also screw up the very things that they think are important.

  • William Berger

    Don’t worry, O’Keefe has Keith Cowing to defend him.

  • Maybe someday NASA will get slapped for making unnecessary *space* flights, using its own fleet instead of commercial offerings…

  • David Davenport

    O’Keefe made a TV appearance last Monday night during half time at the LSU-Tennessee football game, looking hearty and chipper in an LSU sweatshirt and cap.

    I didn’t see Keith Cowing at his side.

    Sean’s sort of your flexible upper level functionary. Space agency or big state U. head? Privately, he probably doesn’t give a flip or a rip as long as the pay and bennies are OK, including plenty of junkets on taxpayer-funded airplanes.

    The former NASA Administrator’s side lost the game. After being down 21-0 at the half, the Vowels ultimately prevailed, as God certainly intended.

    Tennessee would probably win even more football games if they stopped teaching evolution and once again made daily Christian prayer mandatory in all Tenessee schools.