Southwest Airlines’ new program makes becoming a pilot easier
Southwest Airlines Co. today launches an innovative career program called Destination 225° which provides pathways to becoming a competitively qualified candidate for future Southwest First Officer positions. On a compass, 225° is the southwest directional heading, and Destination 225° was developed to lead aspiring Pilots to Southwest Airlines.
With demand for qualified and professional Pilots projected to increase in the coming years, Destination 225° seeks to meet future, high-potential aviators at their current experience level and provide pathways to assist them with becoming highly skilled and qualified for future opportunities at Southwest. To offer the program, Southwest plans to join with well-known industry partners that will provide participants with training and flight experience to reinforce “The Southwest Way” of flying as candidates complete their journey to becoming a professional Pilot. Planned Destination 225° program partners include: CAE, Bell Murray Aviation, U.S. Aviation, Jet Linx, XOJET Aviation, iAero Group’s Swift Air, Arizona State University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, University of Nebraska Omaha, and the University of Oklahoma.
Participants who apply, interview, and are selected for the Destination 225° program will receive a Southwest mentor during their years of training, be invited to Southwest for training activities and events, and, ultimately, have the opportunity to apply for selection as a Southwest First Officer. Participants will go through comprehensive training and a continuous evaluation process intended to enable them to meet, or potentially exceed, Southwest’s competitive hiring qualifications. There is no cost to apply to the program; however, candidates advancing through a training program and the selection process will be responsible for all costs incurred.
“Destination 225° will offer pathways for the development of world-class Pilots who are ready to fly ‘The Southwest Way,'” said Alan Kasher, Vice President of Flight Operations. “This comprehensive training program is designed to make becoming a Southwest First Officer an attainable goal for passionate, highly-skilled individuals. Pilots in the Destination 225° pathways will receive training customized to Southwest from our partners and will be held to the competitive hiring requirements for future First Officer positions. We are looking for participants who demonstrate the technical aptitude to excel in all aspects of their training and development as a future Southwest Pilot.”
Destination 225° Pilot Pathways
Interested candidates can apply to be accepted into one of the Destination 225° pathways that best matches their current or prior experience:
Destination 225° Cadet Pathway
The Cadet Pathway is an ab initio—”from the beginning”—program which provides passionate, skilled individuals with a multi-year training program in partnership with CAE, a worldwide leader in training for the civil aviation, defense and security, and healthcare markets. The classroom and flight training will take place at CAE’s Phoenix training facility. The goal of the program is to have candidates qualified and prepared to apply for positions with planned program partners such as XOJET Aviation or Jet Linx, to gain the flying experience necessary to be a competitive First Officer candidate at Southwest.
Destination 225° University Pathway
The University Pathway is designed for collegiate aviators who attend a Southwest partner university or complete a Southwest Campus Reach Internship. Southwest is working to partner with four universities to offer this transition training: Arizona State University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, University of Nebraska Omaha, and the University of Oklahoma. Our planned University Pathway corporate flying partners include XOJET Aviation, Jet Linx, and iAero Group’s Swift Air.
Destination 225° Military Pathway
The Military Pathway bridges the gap for active military pilots who do not yet meet the minimums to start their career as an airline pilot. If an individual has previous rotor/powerlift experience as a military pilot, this pathway will develop the skills and experience necessary for fixed-wing airline operations. Southwest is proud to offer this transition training through a planned partnership with Bell Murray Aviation, an FAA 142 Training Center, which is dedicated to exploring training opportunities in all areas of aerospace, including individual pilot training, corporate, and military aviation operations. The planned corporate partners offering the opportunity to build the necessary flying experience are iAero Group’s Swift Air, Jet Linx, and XOJET Aviation.
Destination 225° Employee Pathway
Southwest is known for incredible Employees, and, in a planned partnership with CAE and US Aviation Academy, Southwest Employees will be able to also apply for the Employee Pathway to pursue a career as a professional Pilot.
“We are fortunate to attract top candidates to fill our Pilot positions at Southwest but recognize that for many, the barriers to entering this career field can be prohibitive,” said Julie Weber, Vice President and Chief People Officer. “Our purpose is to connect people to what’s important in their lives. Therefore, it’s exciting to introduce Destination 225° and provide defined pathways for aspiring aviators who dream of a career at Southwest Airlines.”