Patriot Express to Begin New Schedule |
Posted 6/6/2008 Updated 6/6/2008
AMC Public Affairs
6/6/2008 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Beginning July 9, the U.S. military's chartered commercial air service, also known as Patriot Express, will begin regular B-747 bi-weekly round-trip service from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Wash., to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa and Yokota AB, Japan.
After ATA Airlines filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations in April, a gap existed in the Patriot Express service in the Pacific. Shortly after, Northwest Airlines took up the regular weekly missions to make up for the shortfall, since ATA and Northwest were under contract through a team arrangement with Federal Express.
Based on Northwest Airlines' available resources to support the needs of the military, the airline will be able to upgrade from an A330 aircraft to a larger B-747. Since this upgrade will add more space, the Patriot Express flights will run on a bi-weekly basis.
"The aircraft upgrade adds about 100 more seats to each flight for every other week until the end of August," said Larry Lorentzen, an air transportation analyst with U.S. Transportation Command's directorate of operations and plans.
Lorentzen also said that direct negotiations with the airlines provided another benefit to travelers with extra travel requirements.
"Northwest Airlines has increased pet spaces to 24 per mission to accommodate passengers who have reservation commitments," said Lorentzen.
The 18th Air Force Tanker Airlift Control Center here has set up a new schedule with the airlines, which is available through GATES, the Global Air Transportation Execution System.
Meanwhile, USTRANSCOM contracting officials are continuing to work with the Federal Express team to set up a Patriot Express schedule for travel when the current contract ends.