AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — Some Patriot Express routes, which are used to ferry troops on official travel, are receiving larger aircraft, which is good news for space-available travelers as well.

Starting Oct. 1, the larger planes will be used on three of the 10 routes flown by Patriot Express, according to Larry Lorentzen, senior commercial analyst for the U.S. Transportation Command’s operations and plans directorate.

“Our goal is to have large, modern aircraft on all our routes,” Lorentzen said in a telephone interview Thursday.

The biggest change will be seen in the Pacific, where one route will now be serviced by B767s instead of a B757 aircraft. The flights that start in Seattle and make stops in Yokota Air Base, Japan, and Osan and Kunsan air bases in South Korea will offer about 240 seats, or 50 more than current capacity.

The larger plane will also eliminate the need to stop in Alaska to refuel, thus shortening the journey, Lorentzen said.

Two routes passing between the U.S. and the Middle East through Europe will feature MD-11s instead of DC-10s, resulting in about 35 more seats per flight.

The Patriot Express service is designed to carry active-duty personnel on official travel — those deploying or making permanent change of station moves — but it’s also a popular way for military retirees, qualified dependents and servicemembers on leave to travel.

About 145,000 active-duty personnel and 50,000 Space-A travelers used the service last year.

author picture
Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for 40 years.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now