Govt employees can now avail air travel on LTC, Centre issues notice

The central government has issued new guidelines for the Leave Travel Concession (LTC) availed by employees, which will now include air tickets. The Centre in a missive sent to all central ministries and departments said that the Department of Expenditure’s circular from June regarding air travel on government duty will also be applicable for air travel for LTC, reported The Hindu BusinessLine on Wednesday.

The circular stated that air tickets to be availed under LTC shall be only bought from three Authorised Travel Agents (ATAs), which are Balmer Lawrie & Company Limited, Ashok Travels and Tours and Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation.

LTC is an allowance given to employees for meeting travel expenses when the employee is on leave from work. The same is exempted from tax under the Income Tax Act.

The memorandum stated, “Government employees are to choose a flight having the Best Available Fare on their entitled travel class which is the cheapest fare available, preferably for Non-stop flight in a given slot, mentioned below, at the time of booking.”

To claim LTC on air tickets, employees will have to keep a print out of the ATAs having flight and fare details, the notice further stated, reported the BusinessLine.

The circular further advised that employees should book flight tickets at least 21 days prior to the intended date of travel on LTC, to avail the most competitive fares and minimise burden on the exchequer. Employees should also avoid unnecessary cancellations, it added.

“While tickets may be arranged by the office through the travel agent, employees are encouraged to make ticket booking digitally through the Self Booking Tool/online booking website/portal of these three ATAs only,” the report quoted the circular.

In order to avail an advance for LTC, employees can submit a printout of the concerned webpage of the authorised travel agency at least 30 days prior to the intended date of journey.

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