|LCQ16: Flight awards earned from government passages
Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (December 11):
The Code for Principal Officials under the Accountability System ("the Code") provides that "there is no obligation on principal officials ("POs") who travel on duty to claim flight awards from airlines. However, if and when such awards are claimed and credited to a PO's mileage account, the PO should report the awards to his bureau/department to facilitate planning for possible use of the awards for subsequent duty travel. For flight awards earned from government passages, the first call on the use of such awards shall be for subsequent duty travel." In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform the Council:
(a) of the reasons why POs who travel on duty have no obligation to claim flight awards from airlines; whether it has assessed if this is a waste of public money;
(b) of the respective departure and arrival dates, destinations and air fares in respect of each duty travel of each PO since the implementation of the accountability system on July 1; whether the POs have reported to the Administration the mileage earned on each duty travel and the flight awards received as a result; and
(c) whether or not the POs, in accordance with the provision of the Code, used the flight awards previously earned from government passages when they travelled on duty; if not, of the reasons for that?
According to the Code for Principal Officials under the Accountability System, there is no obligation on the part of principal officials who travel on duty to claim flight awards from airlines. However, if and when such awards are claimed and credited to a principal official's mileage account, the principal official should report the awards to his bureau/department to facilitate planning for possible use of the awards for subsequent duty travel. Civil servants are also subject to the same requirement.
(a) Principal officials are not obliged to claim flight awards from airlines mainly for three reasons: (i) generally under flight awards schemes, a substantial amount of mileage would need to be accumulated before awards could be redeemed; (ii) the airlines which principal officials fly on for each duty visit may not be the same; and (iii) air tickets redeemed under flight awards schemes are subject to certain restrictions and may not fit in with the itinerary and needs of the principal officials. Those principal officials under the accountability system who need to undertake duty visits frequently have already joined flight awards schemes and claimed mileage from the airlines.
(b) The departure and arrival dates, destinations, air fares, and mileage earned in respect of the duty visits undertaken by principal officials under the accountability system for the period July 1, 2002 to November 30, 2002 are set out at Annex.
(c) The Financial Secretary is going to Nanjing for a duty visit today by means of a return ticket redeemed from mileage previously earned. Apart from that, since July, 2002, no other principal officials have redeemed awards from mileage earned from previous duty passages as the mileage accumulated so far does not enable the redemption of an air ticket that suits the itinerary and needs of their duty visits.
End/Wednesday, December 11, 2002.