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Starting on April 1, US military personnel serving in US Central Command's area of operations will receive commercial airline tickets for their travel from Kuwait to their rest and recuperation leave destinations, announced CENTCOM officials. Previously, the only option was to fly charter air to Atlanta or Dallas from Kuwait, said Army Lt. Col. Dave Homza, chief of the command's R&R task force, in a March 29 release. Now, personnel will use commercial tickets for their approved leave destination, be it stateside or elsewhere in the world, states the release. The charter flights have ended. The Defense Department began a pilot program in January, offering the commercial tickets in place of charter flights for some service members. Homza said the charter flights made economic sense when US forces were at peak levels in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now, the individual commercial tickets are more economical and give airmen, marines, sailors, soldiers, and Defense Department civilians more travel flexibility, he said. (Washington, D.C., report by David Vergun)