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Private Jets Operating Under Part 135

Updated: Jun 12

The Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 (also known as 14 CFR 135) is the section that pertains to Private Jet Travel and commuter shuttles with less than 30 seats, and which are available to the general public. This section does not apply to privately owned business jets, which operate under Part 91.

Air Planning only contracts with carriers that have achieved Part 135 certification (or foreign equivalent), ensuring the highest safety and operational standards for our partners.

Part 135 - Air Carrier and Operator Certification

Types of 14 CFR 135 Operations

There are two types of certificates available in the United States, depending on the type of service that will be offered and where they plan to conduct their operations.

Air Carrier Certificate - this is for interstate and international transportation, as well as for carrying mail. This is the most common certification and allows for travel anywhere passengers need to travel.

Operating Certificate - this is for intrastate transportation, which is conducted wholly within the same state. This is ideal for shuttle programs where they only fly back and forth within that same state.

135 Certificate Operating Authorities

There are two main operating authorities that Air Carriers or Operators must operate under. They either fall under On-Demand or Commuter (shuttle), however a certificate holder with a Commuter authority can also conduct On-Demand operations.

Each operation has specific limitations associated with them, including the number of passenger seats that can be installed on the aircraft, maximum payload limits, and whether turbo-jet aircraft can be used in that kind of operation.

On-Demand Charter

On-Demand Charter operations can be conducted in airplanes that have a passenger seating configuration of 30 seats or less and a maximum payload capacity of 7500 pounds, or in any rotorcraft.

On-demand certificate holders can also conduct limited scheduled service operations with the following additional restrictions:

  • Less than 5 round trips per week on at least one route between two or more points (according to published flight schedules)

  • No turbo-jet airplanes can be used

  • Airplanes are limited to a maximum passenger seating configuration of 9 seats or less.


Commuter operations may be conducted in airplanes which have a maximum passenger-seating configuration of 9 seats and a maximum payload capacity of 7500 pounds, or in any rotorcraft. Commuter operations cannot be conducted in any turbo-jet aircraft.

There are several requirements for a carrier to become CFR Part 135 Certified. Below is an overview of some of these requirements.

Company Ownership

Applicant must be a US Citizen, and it must be a US based company.

Principal Base of Operation

Applicant must show documentation of ownership, lease agreement, or a letter of intent that it has established a physical location for its principal base of operation.


An applicant / operator must have the exclusive use of at least one aircraft that meets the requirements for at least one kind of operation.

Maintenance Requirements for Part 135 operations

Depending on the complexity of the aircraft and the scope of operation, maintenance for Part 135 operations are more stringent than for Part 91 operations. In order to ensure that the aircraft and maintenance records are in compliance, the air carrier will perform a Conformity Check on the aircraft.


All U.S. direct air carriers operating in interstate or foreign air transportation must file evidence of aircraft accident liability insurance coverage that meets the requirements of the federal regulations.

Management Personnel

In order to become certificated as a Part 135 certificate holder, an applicant must designate the following management personnel: Director of Operations, Chief Pilot, and Director of Maintenance.


At the time of formal application, company manuals must be submitted which include:

  • General Operations Manual (GOM)

  • General Maintenance Manual (GMM)

  • Aircraft Flight Manual

Required Safety Programs:

  • HazMat Manual – Carriers are required to fill out these forms, even if they do not intend to transport hazardous materials.

  • Training Programs for their pilots, crew members and other personnel

  • Initial Company Training Curriculum. This covers training for a wide range of scenarios and situations that could occur.

  • Drug and Alcohol Program Requirements, including ongoing testing

  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security program

Pilots Records Improvement Act (PRIA) of 1996

PRIA was enacted to ensure that air carriers adequately investigate a pilot’s background before allowing that pilot to conduct commercial air carrier flights. Under PRIA, an air carrier cannot place a pilot into service until after it obtains and reviews the last 5 years of the pilot’s records as specified in PRIA.

For additional information on Part 135, how we vet carriers, or for a quote, reach out to us at


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