Empty Legs

When dealing with private jet charter, you will often hear the term 'Empty Leg'. But what is it and how can it benefit you?

Each aircraft has a starting position for each booking. This may be the end point of a previous booking, the departure airport for a new booking, or the aircraft's home base. Although charter brokers will always look to find available aircraft for their clients from the required departure airport, a suitable aircraft may well have to 'position' from a different airport in order to collect the client. This positioning flight is called an 'Empty Leg'. In addition, clients are rarely looking for an immediate return trip, and therefore, having arrived at its destination, the aircraft needs to reposition for its next booking, or return to its home base, this time without passengers. This also counts as an 'Empty Leg'.

For example, Caroline books a flight from London City airport to Paris, Charles de Gaulle. The aircraft is already at London City, so it flies her to Paris. Once it drops her off, it has to return to London City airport, this time without passengers. This is an 'Empty Leg'.

Each aircraft operator is keen to fill these 'Empty Legs' if at all possible. Although these flights may be listed at a set, discounted price, operators will often accept very low prices in order to offset their costs of operating this otherwise empty sector. Clients wanting to take advantage of these cost savings do however need to be flexible, as circumstances can change at the last minute and the 'Empty Leg' can be subject to cancellation or delay.