Part 91 vs Part 135: What’s The Difference?

One recurring question that comes to our Flight Advisors at PrivateFly is the difference between Part 91 (non-commercial) operations and Part 135 (commercial) operations and which of these operators PrivateFly works with.

To help clear the confusion between the two, we’ve broken down the distinctions between both:

Part 91

A Part 91 operator has regulations defined by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for operations of small non-commercial aircraft within the United States (although, many other countries defer to these rules as well). These regulations set conditions which the aircraft may operate, such as weather.

Within Part 91, the pilot-in-command is the party directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, an aircraft being operated. Additionally, this regulation states that in an emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot-in-command may deviate from any regulation contained within Part 91 to the extent required to handle the emergency.

PrivateFly part 91 vs part 135

Part 135

In contrast, Part 135 operator rules govern commercial aircraft, such as non-scheduled charter and air taxi operations. Part 135 operations have very detailed and strict operational requirements and legal aspects to adhere to, having much higher standard of safety requirements than Part 91 operated aircraft. Pilots also go through more training than Part 91 to obtain their license.

A pilot that has a commercial certificate, and/or a Class II medical, but does not have a flight operation licensed with a Part 135 certificate is, at all times, exercising the rights and privileges of a private pilot under Part 91. Only with a Part 135 certificate can pilots fly passengers or cargo for “compensation or hire”. Any private pilot who works in an impermissible Part 135 operation and experiences any incidents or accidents are not insured by liability coverage when the pilot is only supposed to use his or her aircraft solely in Part 91 operations.

Which Is Safer?

When you fly as a passenger under Part 135 rules, your crew will be well rested. Alarmingly, there are no such regulations for Part 91 crew who effectively can fly without any rest at all. Additionally, it is theoretically possible to take off under conditions of zero visibility under Part 91, while aircraft operated under Part 135 cannot generally use airports that lack on-site weather reporting.

Overall, when flying with a registered aircraft in the US, you are 12 times less likely to have an accident or incident if you charter a part 135 aircraft when compared to flying with a privately managed part 91 aircraft. This is proven by the fact that there were no fatal accidents with US registered part 135 aircraft at all in 2014.

At PrivateFly, we only charter using part 135 aircraft, so when you book a private flight with us, you know you’ll be receiving the safest and most reliable private jet service available.

Call us on (866) 726-1222 or contact us online if you have any questions about Part 135 aircraft operations.