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Departmental Air Travel

Volume 493: debated on Monday 1 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what guidelines his Department has in place on air travel by its officials (a) in the UK, (b) between the UK and other countries and (c) overseas. (273680)

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) guidelines specify ‘approved routes’ (preferred routes and carriers) for journeys by air. These are considered to offer the most efficient, safe and economical journey to the destination. They form the basis for staff entitlements for official travel. The same guidelines apply to journeys within the UK, journeys between the UK and other countries and journeys between overseas countries.

For duty travel staff fly in economy class on journeys of three hours or less. For journeys over three hours they may fly in business class.

Carbon offset arrangements are made by the FCO for all air travel originating in London. The FCO also encourage staff booking journeys from overseas to consider making a voluntary payment to reduce the impact of emissions created by journeys at public expense.

Where there is a choice about travelling by rail or air, we encourage budget holders to take a range of factors into account including value for money considerations.