State inks new contract with Southwest Airlines that cuts locals out of deal |

State inks new contract with Southwest Airlines that cuts locals out of deal

CARSON CITY – The state has agreed to a new contract with Southwest Airlines that extends the $78-round-trip rate between Reno and Las Vegas.

However, the airline insisted that local governments and school districts be cut out of the deal.

The existing state contract permitted local governments to get the same rate from the airline since many local officials have to make frequent trips between the north and south.

Greg Smith, of State Purchasing, who manages the contract, said this time Southwest Airline officials charge that too many local officials were using the cut-rate tickets, designed for those on official business, for personal trips.

“Maybe fraud is a strong word, but there’s been a tremendous amount of it,” said Smith.

As a result, he said, Southwest included specific provisions excluding the political subdivisions in the new contract. And he said the state wasn’t in a great bargaining position to argue since Southwest provides just about the only regular air service between Reno and Las Vegas.

He said, however, that the rate remains at $78 for 2000. It will increase to $88 for 2001, but even so continues to save the state thousands of dollars. That compares with the round-trip rate of $190 paid by other customers.

Smith said state officials made more than 30,000 round trip flights between the two major Nevada cities last year and he expects up to 20 percent more this year.

The Board of Examiners – consisting of the governor, attorney general and secretary of state – unanimously approved the two-year contract.

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