I am not quite sure why I this interests me but I was wondering how airlines schedule flight crews for ferry flights, predominantly, flights to maintenance facilities. Is this considered a desirable assignment or is it relegated to junior/reserve crews? Is it a matter of a one day trip- drop off one airplane and return another back to service?
If it’s a ferry for a charter then it’s usually bid as part of the bid for the charter.
I believe maintenance ferries are usually crewed by reserve as the exact day & time of the trip isn’t determined until only shortly before the flight. If there is another aircraft of the same type at the facility ready to return to service, yes, they will fly that on the return, but usually there isn’t so they are deadheaded back to base (or perhaps to another station where they are needed). The reverse goes for picking up an aircraft when there isn’t one ready to be dropped off - they’re deadheaded out to pick it up.
Ferry flights (or repositioning) are usually dropped into pilot open time as maintenance/mx dictates. Rarely do you see them scheduled very far out unless a heavy check is required. For this reason they most often go to the junior reserve crews and sometimes the ready reserves sitting airport standby. Now and again a line pilot might pick such a trip up out of open time though for extra money. Depending on where the ferry is going, it may be good or it may be bad. I’ve been stuck a half dozen times at a certain mx base 24-36 hrs.
Plus, depending on why it is being sent to MX, it could have a ton of issues with it. Usually deferred items of MELs that must be fixed before revenue service.