A ferry flight is a non-revenue flight for the purpose of 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. Often charter operators will charge a ‘ferry flight fee’ for repositioning an aircraft for its 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 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.