Research and Sponsored Projects Manual (RSP)

Effective: 6/21/1983

Revised: 12/11/2012

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RSP 504–01: Sponsored Projects Travel for ASU Employees

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Purpose

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To describe how foreign, domestic, and in-state travel costs incurred by ASU employees are authorized and reimbursed

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Sources

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United States. Office of Management and Budget. OMB Circular A-21 (revised), Cost Principles for Educational Institutions
United States. Office of Management and Budget. OMB Circular A-110 (revised). Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Nonprofit Organizations
Federal Travel Regulation, November 13, 1998 Edition of the Federal Register (Vol. 63, No. 219). The amendment relates to the use of U.S. flag carriers under the provision of 49 USC 40118, which is commonly referred to as the Fly America Act
74 FR 2396 Federal Travel Regulation, Fly America Act, US-EU Open Skies Agreement
Federal Travel Regulation, GSA Bulletin FTR 11-02 and FTR 12-04
Arizona Revised Statutes §§ 38–621 to –627
Comptroller General Decision B-240956 dated September 25, 1991
Arizona Board of Regents Policy Manual 3-603
Financial Services
Office for Research and Sponsored Projects Administration (ORSPA)

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Policy

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Authorization

Allowable and approved foreign, domestic, and in-state travel for work related to a sponsored project is governed by university travel regulations, unless the sponsor’s regulations are more restrictive and cannot be waived.

Note: Travel under federal contracts includes specific regulations that are rarely waived.

Some federal agencies require principal investigators (PIs) to request written approval, prior to travel, for each foreign trip whether or not it was itemized in the proposal and included in the awarded budget for both grants and contracts. In this case, the foreign travel request must be countersigned by the appropriate grant and contract officer in the Office for Research and Sponsored Projects Administration (ORSPA). Please consult RSP 507–01, “Sponsored Project Award Changes” for the necessary prior approvals.

Transportation expenses cannot exceed the cost of an economy roundtrip fare except when such accommodations would result in:

  1. circuitous routing
  2. travel during unreasonable hours
  3. excessively prolonged travel
  4. greatly increased flight time
  5. additional costs that would offset benefits of the economy fare

    or

  6. inadequate accommodations for the traveler’s medical needs.

Requests to incur airfare costs in excess of the economy fare must be justified on a case-by-case basis to the ASU Travel Office.


Use of U.S. Flag Air Carriers Required for Foreign Air Travel Charged to Sponsored Projects

The “Fly America Act” refers to the provisions enacted by Section 5 of the International Air Transportation Fair Competitive Practices Act of 1974, 49 USC §40118 as implemented in the United States Comptroller General’s guidelines (Comp. Gen. Decision B-138942, dated June 17, 1975 as amended March 31, 1981). The Fly America Act was enacted to mandate the use of U.S. flag air carriers for federally funded international travel when service provided by such a carrier is “available.” Indeed, even when a nonfederal account is being charged for official travel, the university prefers that a U.S. flag air carrier be used.

Use of U.S. Flag Air Carriers

“U.S. flag air carrier” means an air carrier holding a certificate under Section 401 of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, 49 USC §41102. Under the Fly America Act, U.S. flag air carrier service is “available” even though:

  1. a comparable or different kind of service can be provided at less cost by a foreign air carrier
  2. foreign air carrier service is preferred by or is more convenient for the agency or traveler

    or

  3. service by a foreign air carrier can be paid for in excess foreign currency.

In determining availability of U.S. flag air carrier service, travelers should use the following rules unless applying such rules would result in the first or last leg of travel from or to the U.S. being performed by a foreign air carrier:

  1. U.S. flag air carrier service available at point of origin must be used to destination or, in the absence of direct or through service, to the farthest interchange point on a usually traveled route

    or

  2. if a U.S. flag air carrier does not serve an origin or interchange point, a foreign air carrier shall be used only to the nearest interchange point on a usually traveled route to connect with a U.S. flag air carrier

Use of Foreign Air Carriers

There are limited circumstances under which use of a foreign air carrier is permissible. These circumstances are outlined below:

“Open Skies” Agreements. A foreign air carrier may be used if the transportation is provided under an air transportation agreement between the United States and a foreign government, which the Department of Transportation has determined meets the requirements of the Fly America Act. For example, in 2007, the U.S. entered into an “Open Skies” air transportation agreement with the European Union. This agreement gives European Community airlines (airlines of E.U. Member States and others to whom inclusion under the agreement has been extended) the right to transport passengers and cargo on flights funded by the U.S. government, when the transportation is between a point in the United States and any point in a Member State or between any two points outside the United States.

The General Services Administration (GSA), through the issuance of Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) Bulletins, provides information on bilateral or multilateral air transportation agreements to which the U.S. Government and the government of a foreign country are parties to allow use of foreign carriers. For additional information on the European Union agreement and other “Open Skies” agreements, please refer to the list of current agreements and related Federal Travel Regulation Bulletins at http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104790 and/or contact your ORSPA grant and contract officer.

Involuntary Rerouting. Travel on a foreign air carrier is permitted if a U.S. flag air carrier involuntarily reroutes the traveler via a foreign air carrier, notwithstanding the availability of alternative U.S. flag air carrier service.

Travel to and From the U.S.

The use of a foreign air carrier is permissible for travel to and from the U.S. if the airport abroad is:

  1. the traveler’s origin or destination airport, and use of U.S. flag air carrier service would extend the time in a travel status by at least 24 hours more than travel by a foreign air carrier

    or

  2. an interchange point, and use of U.S. flag air carrier service would:

    1. increase the number of aircraft changes the traveler must make outside of the U.S. by two or more
    2. require the traveler to wait four hours or more to make connections at that point

      or

    3. extend the time in a travel status by at least six hours more than travel by a foreign air carrier.

Travel between Points Outside the U.S.

Between points outside the U.S., use of a foreign air carrier is permissible if:

  1. travel by a foreign air carrier would eliminate two or more aircraft changes en route
  2. the travel is not part of the trip to or from the U.S., and use of a U.S. flag air carrier would extend the time in a travel status by at least six hours more than travel by a foreign air carrier

    or

  3. travel by a U.S. flag air carrier would require a connecting time of four hours or more at an overseas interchange point.

Short Distance Travel

For all short-distance travel, regardless of origin and destination, use of a foreign air carrier is permissible if the elapsed travel time on a scheduled flight from origin to destination airport by a foreign air carrier is three hours or less and service by a U.S. flag air carrier would double the travel time.

Code Share Alliances

The United States Comptroller General has issued a decision concerning the code-sharing (Airline Alliances) of flights by U.S. and foreign carriers utilizing the equipment of the foreign carrier (Comp. Gen. Decision B-240956, dated September 25, 1991). According to that decision, an arrangement by a U.S. flag air carrier to provide passenger service in international air transportation on the aircraft of a foreign air carrier under a “code-share” arrangement would meet the requirements of the Fly America Act.

Federal regulations have been revised to indicate that the ticket (or documentation for an electronic ticket) must identify the U.S. flag air carrier’s two-letter designator code and flight number, which is located on the right-hand section of the passenger receipt. This indicates that the flier is in a U.S. flag carrier seat, regardless of which air carrier owns the aircraft.

The key to meeting the requirements is whether the ticket is purchased through the U.S. flag air carrier. If the ticket is issued through the U.S. flag air carrier, the expense will, in most cases, be eligible for reimbursement, provided the U. S. flag air carrier is identified on the ticket. If the ticket is issued by a foreign air carrier, even under a code-sharing arrangement, the ticket is not eligible for reimbursement on a federal award.

Note: You may contact ORSPA to determine an airline’s flagship status.

For more information on air travel or travel on other common carriers, see FIN 512, “Transportation.” Use of the U.S. Flag Carrier/Fly America Act Waiver Checklist can help identify legitimate exceptions for use of a foreign air carrier.


Reimbursement

When faced with conflicting federal, sponsor, and institution policies, the more restrictive policy is followed. However, to ensure consistent and equitable treatment of ASU students and employees, if the restriction results in a lesser reimbursement from a sponsored account, the university should cover the difference from a nonsponsored account.

Foreign travel is typically reimbursed according to the U.S. Department of State’s published rates (http://aoprals.state.gov/content.asp?content_id=184&menu_id=78).

The traveler is responsible for obtaining the proper passports or visas. Expenses for securing passports and visas are rarely allowable costs.

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Cross-References

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For complete information on university travel regulations, see the policies in the Financial Services Policies and Procedures Manual—FIN 500, “Travel.”

For more information on foreign travel, see the Financial Services Policies and Procedures Manual—FIN 506, “Foreign Travel.”

See also RSP 507–01, “Sponsored Project Award Changes.”

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