Aircraft charter trade flight with an empty leg
A private aircraft charter booked for a one-way flight leaves an empty leg for the return trip, since an aircraft has to fly empty to get back to its previous destination and pick up its next set of passengers. By booking wisely, you could save up to 75% compared to conventional private jet charters.
Dead mileage, dead running, light running, empty cars or deadheading in public transport and empty leg in air charter is when a revenue-gaining vehicle operates without carrying or accepting passengers, such as when coming from a garage to begin its first trip of the day.
The term deadheading also applies to the practice of allowing employees of a common carrier to use a vehicle as a non-revenue passenger. For example, an airline might assign a pilot living in New York to a flight from Denver to Los Angeles, and the pilot would simply catch any flight going to Denver, either wearing their uniform or showing ID, in lieu of buying a ticket. Also, some transport companies will allow employees to use the service when off duty, such as a city bus line allowing an off-duty driver to commute to and from work, free.
Dead mileage incurs costs for the operator in terms of non-revenue earning fuel use, wages, and a reduction in the use of the driver’s legal hours of driving.
Operators will often reduce dead mileage by starting or finishing the first or last service of the day, or shift, at a garage along the route, a so-called part service or part route. Dead mileage may also be reduced by the operation of routes specifically timed and routed to facilitate bus movements rather than the passenger need. Often changing routes slightly (and ensuring high on time performance) can greatly increase the useful time to deadhead ratio for both crew and vehicles.
Cutting-edge technology has been also leveraged to preempt dead miles and innovate ways to reduce those or in some cases replenish the empty or dead miles with revenue-generating backhaul. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science have been known to be drawn upon in a connected platform to predict and then effectively allocate loads to a transport. All this happens in real-time and hence each on-demand request is met with extreme diligence. As the platform is connected and acts like an ecosystem, shippers and carriers benefit from end-to-end visibility that in turn enables them to search return loads at the current destination.
Some air charter companies are leasing out their planes at a lower rate for those empty leg flights to reduce the cost or profit from those originally non-revenue flights.