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Empty-Leg Flights: An Economical Way of Flying Private

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

The term “empty leg flights” refers to a secret in the private aviation industry that we wish to disclose and share with our valued clients.

Abeona International treats its clients like family, and like in any good family, there are supposed to be no secrets (or just very few). As Canada’s boutique travel solutions provider, we are delighted to introduce our clients to the well-kept secret of empty-leg flights, which offer an economical and eco-conscious solution for travelling via private jet.

In this overview article, we will explain what empty-leg flights are, why it might make sense for you to use them and how we can tailor this type of travelling solution into a convenient experience and, especially, into a wise expenditure for you.

Tirelessly, Abeona works with each client individually to ensure their needs and requests are met meticulously.

A graphic depicting how empty-leg flights work

What Is an Empty-Leg Flight?

Even frequent fliers often do not know what “empty-leg flight” refers to. However, the term is commonly used in the aviation industry to describe flights without passengers or cargo on board.

Empty-leg flights are most frequently private aircraft that are being repositioned before their next scheduled flights with passengers on board. Since there are no passengers on board, the expression “empty-leg flight” has evolved.

Furthermore, flights to take the plane toward its “home base” are often referred to as empty-leg flights as well. Other terms that refer to empty-leg flights are empty flights, dead-heads, repositioning legs, and ferry flights.

For example, if a client flies from Toronto to New York City, where he will stay for several days, the private aircraft must be flown back to its home base in Toronto after the client's arrival. That flight will be an empty-leg flight since the client stays in New York City, and there will be no passengers onboard.

Astonishingly, empty-leg flights make up about 30-50% of all private flights worldwide. That means that around 3,000 - 5,000 repositioning flights without any passengers onboard are occurring each day across the globe at any given time.

Naturally, there is a lot of potentials for our clients to benefit from these flights. The most crucial advantage of repositioning flights is that the empty seats are often traded with tremendous markdowns.

The financial reduction of an empty-leg flight can be as significant as up to 65% off a common charter price. It is also possible to share an empty-leg flight with other parties, which brings the costs down even more significantly.

No matter if you can afford to charter a private aircraft just for yourself, the value-based spending on empty-leg flights can be extremely attractive. If you are adamant about spending money on private aviation, alternative charter options like these might suit your mindset.

Flight attendants greeting passengers by a private jet on the tarmac

A Canny Way of Flying Private

The statistics and numbers associated with empty-leg flights make it easy to forecast the opportunity that these flights encompass. They are a clever way to decrease the investment of flying private while maintaining the accustomed comfort and convenience.

Another benefit is that empty-leg flights lower the environmental impact of private aviation. An increasing number of our clients consider the ecological footprint of flying private, which is why the demand for empty-leg flights has increased in recent years.

If a private jet flies without any passengers to be repositioned, the ecological footprint will naturally not be exemplary.

However, suppose that an empty-leg flight is occupied by 2-4 people who make use of that empty plane instead of chartering another plane that additionally goes into the air – in that case, the environmental impact of travelling via private jet is improved by a large degree.

Here is a brief summary of the benefits of empty-leg flights:

  • Empty-leg flights are an economical way to charter a private aircraft for a fraction of the usual costs

  • Flying private minimizes health risks and stress that go hand-in-hand with overcrowded, commercial flights

  • The convenience, comfort, safety and on-board experience offer the same advantages as other privately chartered aircraft

  • Empty-leg flights offer an improved environmental impact of flying private and lower carbon emissions

  • One can profit from simplified and streamlined customs and passport controls without coming in contact with large crowds or common customs-clearance process

Interior view of a leather chair on a private jet

Limitations of Empty-Leg Flights

While there are enticing upsides to empty-leg flights, we don’t want to withhold the potential limitations that this way of travelling can come with.

Compared to a commonly chartered private jet, there is relatively short notice for scheduling empty-leg flights. Furthermore, there may be a propensity to change regarding this way of transport.

Since repositioning flights often come available at short notice and tend to be one-way flights, they are most suitable for fliers who do not need to adhere to a strict travel itinerary and have some flexibility. Other than that, empty-leg flights are a great opportunity for frequent fliers who enjoy the advantages of flying private.

Business passengers taking a meeting on a private jet

Does It Make Sense for me to Choose Empty-Leg Flights?

Empty-leg flights offer travellers who value the comfort, privacy and efficiency of flying private an economical solution with a lower environmental impact.

The significant reduction of costs while still enjoying many of the advantages of flying private is the main reason for fliers to choose empty-leg flights.

Empty-leg flight passengers should be comfortable with a little bit of flexibility due to the short notice of available empty-leg flights. Especially for snowbirds or people with second homes to which they regularly commute, empty-leg flights offer attractive, economical private aviation travel solutions.

A private jet with the staircase down on an empty tarmac

Navigating the Logistics of Empty-Leg Flights

When it comes to aligning private travel itineraries with repositioning flights, many logistics are involved.

Abeona International is experienced and well-connected in the private aviation industry to make that happen. We can not only access our own resources but connect with our extensive community and network in the private aviation sector to align schedules, handle logistics and assist you with your needs.

Furthermore, we practise flight matching. If you charter an aircraft with us or we manage your private jet, we will share the “empty leg flight” of your trip with our exclusive Abeona family, which includes all of our clients. This practice allows us to create empty-leg flights in-house to lower the costs of all the passengers involved.

Abeona works with each client individually to ensure their requests are met meticulously. Whether you wish to fly nationally or internationally, we are experienced and well-connected to fulfil and meet your personal needs.

The magic of an empty-leg flight lies in the perfect partnership with an aviation company that can provide you with the experience, resources, and expertise to tailor a suitable empty-leg flight for you.

If you are looking for an empty-leg flight in the near future, feel free to get in touch via our contact form or by emailing us at, and one of our private aviation specialists will get in touch with you!

At Abeona International, you‘ll receive an old-school tailored service where we tend to you meticulously, individually and with a focus on details. We look forward to taking you above and beyond!

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