Florida NASA wasted millions of dollars during a two-year period by shunning commercial airline flights and instead using its own planes for routine travel, according to a government report provided to The Associated Press on Thursday.
The Government Accountability Office found that NASA spent at least five times more by flying employees on its own planes in fiscal 2003 and 2004, compared with the cost of commercial coach tickets. The extra spending totaled about $20 million.
The GAO also reported that 86 percent of NASA's own passenger flights in those two years - or about seven of every eight flights - involved routine business trips prohibited by rules governing what sorts of flights federal workers can take on government aircraft.
It was the government's latest criticism of NASA's use of passenger planes. Twice during the 1990s, the space agency's own inspector general office found faults with the travel system.