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Contract terminology in Private Aviation

Private Aviation has a slightly different terminology compare than Commercial Aviation. 

Moreover, some concept might be completely new. 

I thought about write down a general guideline to help out people who are reading a contract issued by a Private Jet Operator and might wondering what does it mean. 


This is a synonym of roster, so the quantity of working days in a month. In Corporate aviation the working days are usually concentrated all together and the off days are also in a row. 

The most common rotation in Europe is 15 days on- 15 days off. You may also find 3 weeks on – 3 weeks off, 20 days on- 10 days off, one month on- one month off. 


The positioning is the action to move a crew member out of his “gateway” (the closest international airport to his/her residence) to reach the jet wherever it is in the world. 

The positioning can happen via airline, via car rental or train. 

The expenses of the trip are covered by the employer. 

Duty day

The duty days are the working day of your rotation. If you fly on a 15 days on- 15 days off basis, your duty days happen during the 15 days on. 

You are not necessarily flying every day during your duty period, you are basically on stand by. 

If there are any flights you go and fly.

In fact, if there are no flight planned you will stay in the hotel in the city where the aircraft is parked. 

Flying day

Flying days are those days during your rotation when you actually fly. 

Either an empty flight with no customers on board or a live sector with  clients, that day will be a flying day. 

To simplify, remember that every flying day is a duty day, but not every duty day is a flying day. 

Basic salary and per-diems

The compensation in Business Aviation for both pilots and flight attendant is divided into two parts. 

The basic salary is the minimum income you get, either you fly that month or not. 

Even if the aircraft you fly is on maintenance for a couple of months, you will still get the basic salary. 

This might or might not include overtime – sometimes there’s a maximum amount of flying hours per month. 

If you exceed it, you’ll get an extra compensation.

The per-diems are technically a refund of the expense you need to afford during your rotation such as meals. 

The per diems are calculated on the days of your rotation and added to the basic salary at the end of the month. 

They are usually way less taxed compare to the basic salary. 

Sometimes may happen that the contract includes per diems only during flying days. Means that the compensation is paid only when you fly. 

If this is not specifically written in the contract, it is given for granted that every duty day includes per-diems. 


This acronym stands for hotel accommodation and the overnight expenses are covered by the employer when on duty. 

Day off down route

It may happen during a long rotation that pilots need to stay on ground to respect duty time limitation and/or flight time limitation. In this case they have a day off down route – means during the rotation.

This day off is a regular day off. 

Country of issue of the contract

In Private Aviation you do not necessarily relocate an live where the aircraft is based. 

You country of residence is often different from the country which issues the contract of employment. 

In fact, the issuing of the document is strictly related to the authority who deliver the Air Operator Certificate to the Private Jet Operator. 

So you might have a Maltese contract but live in the UK, for example. 

This matter needs a close look by a financial advisor to see how many taxes you need to pay and where.

Most Countries in the European Union have agreements in this sense, which avoid a double taxation. 

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