What is “Repositioning” in Private Aviation?

Private jet charter affords one the flexibility to choose when they fly, on what aircraft, and where; but often, what happens behind the scenes to make that custom flight possible involves “repositioning.”

So, what does “repositioning” entail? We explain.

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Repositioning refers to the moving of an aircraft from one place to another in order to accommodate a requested charter.

If a customer wants to fly from New York to Miami, for example, and there’s a suitable aircraft already located at the origin airport in New York (most often Teterboro Airport), then no repositioning will have to happen. However, if the desired aircraft is located in White Plains Airport, for example, it would need to fly over to Teterboro to accommodate the client – thus “repositioning” to Teterboro Airport.

Repositioning is more common when a customer wants to depart from a more remote destination, where less aircraft are based or commonly fly to.

Where Are Aircraft Based?

While many operators have a “home base” of sorts, where most of their aircraft will return after a chartered flight, some maintain what is called a “floating fleet.”

A floating fleet basically doesn’t have a home base – they stay in flight almost constantly, or they remain at their last end destination until they get a new charter request.

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Floating fleets can offer flexibility, but can also present unpredictability with a constantly changing schedule.

Repositioning vs Reposition Time

The term “repositioning” is sometimes confused with the term “reposition time”.

In airline jargon, “reposition time” is the time it takes for an aircraft to move from the departure gate to the runway. When there is a lot of aircraft traffic, the reposition time can be long.

However, when flying privately from a smaller airport, the reposition time is usually minimal.


In private aviation, repositioning refers to the moving of a jet from one place to another to accommodate a requested charter.

What Happens to the Repositioning Flights?

You’ve probably heard the term “empty leg” surrounding private aviation.

When an aircraft repositions to meet a charter flight, the “in between” flight is known as an “empty leg” or “dead leg;” the aircraft most often flies without any passengers on board to meet its charter flight, hence the name “empty.”

How Does PrivateFly Handle Repositioning?

PrivateFly mitigates the risk of excessive repositioning by finding aircraft that are based at your departure airport or nearby for your desired travel dates. With our technology and 24/7 team of experts, we’re able to find you the right aircraft at the best possible price.

Ready to jet? Call our Flight Team at (866) 726-1222 or contact us online