Under the regulations, certain types of flights are exempt from the scheme including:
(a) flights performed exclusively for the transport, on official mission, of a reigning Monarch and his immediate family, Heads of State, Heads of Government and Government Ministers, of a country other than a Member State, where this is substantiated by an appropriate status indicator in the flight plan;
(b) military flights performed by military aircraft and customs and police flights;
(c) flights related to search and rescue, firefighting flights, humanitarian flights and emergency medical service flights authorised by the appropriate competent authority;
(d) any flights performed exclusively under visual flight rules as defined in Annex 2 to the Chicago Convention;
(e) flights terminating at the aerodrome from which the aircraft has taken off and during which no intermediate landing has been made;
(f) training flights performed exclusively for the purpose of obtaining a licence, or a rating in the case of cockpit flight crew where this is substantiated by an appropriate remark in the flight plan provided that the flight does not serve for the transport of passengers and/or cargo or for the positioning or ferrying of the aircraft;
(g) flights performed exclusively for the purpose of scientific research or for the purpose of checking, testing or certifying aircraft or equipment whether airborne or ground-based;
(h) flights performed by aircraft with a certified maximum take-off mass of less than 5 700 kg;
(i) flights performed in the framework of public service obligations imposed in accordance with Regulation (EEC) No 2408/92 on routes within outermost regions, as specified in Article 299(2) of the Treaty, or on routes where the capacity offered does not exceed 30 000 seats per year; and
(j) flights which, but for this point, would fall within this activity, performed by a commercial air transport operator operating either:
fewer than 243 flights per period for three consecutive four-month periods, or
flights with total annual emissions lower than 10 000 tonnes per year.
Flights performed exclusively for the transport, on official mission, of a reigning Monarch and his immediate family, Heads of State, Heads of Government and Government Ministers, of a Member State may not be excluded under this point.
From Annex I of 2008/101/EC
Additional information and detailed definitions for the exemptions are available in Decision 2009/450/ec