How is the difference between Commercial and Private/General Aviation flights defined by ICAO?

Here in the US, we use 91 flights -vs- 135 flights, but from what I've heard they use a different definition, particularly concerning business aviation flights that fall under Part 91.

In other words, what determines whether ICAO Annex 6 Part 1 or Part 2 applies to a particular flight?


1 Answer 1


According to ICAO Annex 6 Part 1 (PDF):

The Standards and Recommended Practices contained in Annex 6, Part I, shall be applicable to the operation of aeroplanes by operators authorized to conduct international commercial air transport operations.

According to ICAO Annex 6 Part 2 (PDF):

International general aviation operations with:

a) aeroplanes with a maximum certificated take-off mass exceeding 5,700 kg; or

b) aeroplanes equipped with one or more turbojets engines.

The International Flight Plan form also requires flight type to be declared, but I am not sure that this would be ICAO's sole requirement.

Type of flight—Indicate which one:

S—Scheduled air transport
N—Non-scheduled air transport
G—General aviation

For a simpler explanation, this PDF lists civil aviation activities:


This page contains a table (at the bottom) classifying each type.

  • $\begingroup$ Okay, so what is the difference between "commercial air transport operations" and "general aviation operations"? That's what I'm trying to figure out. :-) $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    May 7, 2014 at 16:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Lnafziger "Commercial" means you are engaged in commerce, i.e. basically, money is changing hands. "Air transport" means you are transporting something (goods or people). On that basis alone the ICAO text could be read as "if you're moving stuff around for money, you're subject to Part I." Not sure if they offer a more precise definition or not. $\endgroup$
    – TypeIA
    May 8, 2014 at 13:19

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