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Fedex Announces Plan for Pilot Flow Through Program

Fedex Announces New Pilot Development Program

FedEx and Fedex Express Feeders have launched a pilot training and flow through plan as an outreach to new or low time pilots.

What is being called “Purple Runway” is an initial partnership between Fedex, Delta State University, and two Fedex Feeder operations Mountain Air Cargo and Empire Airlines.

The new Fedex Pilot program will begin with a collaborative outreach and engagement program to promote student interest in aviation careers at selected universities and aviation colleges around the country.

When eligible, pilots at Empire Airlines and Mountain Air Cargo can enter into a participant agreement with those carriers that will provide advancement and flow through into Fedex Mainline. To complete the program at the feeder level pilots will need to:

  • Complete a four-year with a 2.5 or higher GPA from accredited program
  • Have acceptable attendance, reliability, and performance records
  • Complete an initial evaluation and recurrent evaluations
  • Complete minimum service and hour obligation to the feeder which includes at least 36 months and at least 500 hours as pilot-in-command in multi-engine turbo prop aircraft
  • Attend the FedEx Experience Summit
  • Demonstrate acceptable training performance with no training or line check failures
  • Complete the FedEx Pass Board Review
  • Complete a jet transition course
  • Complete the job knowledge test
  • Successfully pass the panel and situational-based interviews at Fedex

Purple Runway was launched following the regional airline Great Lakes’ decision to suspend services – citing lack of pilot as the cause.

“FedEx is initiating a new, industry-leading pilot development program to ensure a full pipeline of pilots for us and the industry at large,” said FedEx chairman and CEO Frederick W. Smith.

“The program is designed to assist our feeder operators with recruitment and retention of pilots who wish to develop skills and experience to qualify for opportunities at FedEx.”

Fedex says the new program has three main objectives:

  1. To further career development of pilots during employment with Fedex feeders
  2. To assist the feeder operator in its efforts to recruit candidates
  3. To provide FedEx Express with an early opportunity to evaluate feeder pilots
Cessna Caravan operated by Empire Airlines

“Empire Airlines is excited to be part of such a forward looking and innovative program,” said Tim Komberec, president and CEO of Empire Airlines. “We believe this program will strengthen our recruitment efforts and provide a pathway to one of the premier flight careers in the world, FedEx Express.”

“Mountain Air Cargo is thrilled to be part of this exciting opportunity,” said Craig Bently, president and CEO of Mountain Air Cargo. “This program will provide our airline with highly-skilled and qualified pilots as well as create a pathway for these aviators to follow their dreams and join FedEx Express.”

Greg started his professional pilot journey in 2002 after graduating from Embry Riddle. Since that time he has accumulated over 8,000 hours working as a pilot. Greg’s professional experience includes flight instructing, animal tracking, backcountry flying, forest firefighting, passenger charter, part 135 cargo, flying for a regional airline, a national low cost airline, a legacy airline, and also working as a manager in charge of Part 135 and Part 121 training programs.

Greg Thomson