Thompson Targets Wasteful NASA Spending Millions of Dollars Squandered on Employee Charter Flights

WASHINGTON, DC — Senate Governmental Affairs Chairman Fred Thompson (R-TN) has called upon the NASA Administrator to require NASA employees to fly commercial flights to Moscow instead of paying up to $20,000 per seat on chartered aircraft.

“NASA is paying at least 10 times what an average flight costs to Moscow,” said Senator Thompson. “In fact, if NASA called a travel agent today they could purchase a ticket for $555 to Moscow. NASA dollars should be devoted to science, not lost to bureaucratic waste.”

The wasteful spending was outlined in a NASA Inspector General Report released today. The IG report found NASA had wasted $3 million during the first nine months of the operation of charter flights to Moscow. NASA needs at least 90 people to fly on each aircraft for the contract to be economical. However, most flights are carrying less than 50 passengers.

The IG found that the average cost per passenger under NASA’s charter contract ranged from $2,753 to $19,883. Thompson, in a letter to NASA Administrator Dan Goldin, called on him to “halt this waste immediately and have Space Station employees rely on commercial air carriers.”

“This is just one example of wasteful Washington spending that the Committee on Governmental Affairs will highlight in the 106th Congress,” said Thompson. “Despite years of budgetary constraints, agencies still do not operate in the most efficient manner, and I will be looking for ways to save taxpayer dollars and deliver the best government for the least amount of money.”

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To see a copy of Senator Thompson’s letter to Administrator Goldin, click here.