Glossary of Aviation Terms | Positioning Ferry Flight

Ferry Flight | Paramount Business Jets

A positioning flight, also known as a ferry flight, can be a non-revenue flight for the purpose of:

  1. Returning an aircraft to base

  2. Positioning an empty aircraft

  3. Moving an aircraft to and from a maintenance base

Also known as positioning/repositioning or "repo" flights, ferry flights are often used by charter operators when an aircraft is required to leave its current location to pick up a passenger. Usually, charter operators will charge a "ferry flight fee" for repositioning an aircraft for their customers.

One example of a ferry flight is where an operator has to pick up a passenger from a location that is different to its home base and will fly an aircraft to a closer location to pick up the passenger. As no passengers are on board the aircraft at this time, the flight generates no revenue. Another example involves an aircraft moving to a maintenance base, as a flight of this type generates no revenue for the operator.

Due to the costs associated with ferry flights, most operators try to avoid positioning flights if at all possible. If a ferry flight is required, operators will generally charge a ferry flight ‘fee’ unless the overall price of the trip is large enough to offset the cost of a local ferry flight.

Positioning flights also create what are commonly known as "empty leg flights". Over 30% of private jets are flying empty, positioning or repositioning from or to a scheduled charter flight. 

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