A Brief Overview of the 14 CFR Part 135 Certification Process

The 14 CFR part 135 certification process consists of a phase and gate system that has 5 different phases and 3 gates. It is mandatory to successfully complete all items in a phase to continue past a gate and into the next phase of the process. An applicant is not certified until FAA is confident that the certificate holder has undergone part 135 training and is capable of fulfilling the required responsibilities. In addition to this, the candidate must comply with 14 CFR appropriately and continually. This article provides a brief overview of the phases linked with 14 CFR Certifications.

Phase 1 – Pre-application

This phase starts when the inquiry about or request for an application for an air carrier or air operator certificate is made by the prospective applicant. Initiated by individuals or organizations, this phase can be in writing or in the form of informal meetings with district office personnel. The following actions are undertaken:

  • The request for access to the FAA Safety Assurance System (SAS) External Portal is initiated by the applicant.
  • The FAA Form 8400-6 Pre-application Statement of Intent (PASI) is submitted by an applicant to the local Flight Standards District Office through FAA’s SAS External Portal.
  • When FAA accepts the PASI, the Certification Service Oversight Process (CSOP) is initiated by the office manager.
  • The Pre-application Meeting with the Certification Team is attended by the applicant and their key management personnel.

Phase 2 – Formal Application

This phase begins when the formal application along with the listed required documents are received by the FAA certification team:

  • Formal Application Letter
  • Compliance Statement
  • Schedule of Events
  • Company Manuals (GOM & GMM)
  • Training Curriculum
  • Management Qualification Attachments
  • SAS Element Design Assessment Tools
  • Proposed Operations Specification
  • Flight Attendant Materials

Phase 3 – Design Assessment

In Design Assessment (DA) phase, the manuals and other documents of the applicant are reviewed to ensure they comply with applicable regulations and conformity to safe operating practices.

Phase 4 – Performance Assessment

This phase is all about determining the applicant’s proposed procedures and programs for part 135 training and directing the personnel in the effective performance of their duties. In this particular phase, it is the compliance with the regulations and operating procedures according to the applicant’s manuals, which are emphasized.

Phase 5 – Administrative Functions

This is the last phase in which the certificate and the operations specifications are issued by the FAA leading to the completion of the 14 CFR part 135 certification process. The applicant must fully fulfill his responsibilities as charged by title 49 of the US Code (49 U.S.C) and Title 14 of the Code of Federal Aviation Act (14 CFR) to receive the certificate.


Now that 14 CFR Part 135 operator is required to work within a much more detailed and stricter operational and legal framework, the respective candidate needs to undergo formal part 135 training and receive the official certificate. An applicant must comply with all five phases as mentioned in the article to be a 14 CFR part 135 certified operator.

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