FedEx Express rolls out program for the pilots of tomorrow


FedEx Express (FedEx) has announced its Purple Runway – A FedEx Pathways Program, an “industry-leading pilot development program designed to produce the pilots of tomorrow”.

In a speech on March 22 at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, FedEx chairman and CEO Frederick Smith said Purple Runway will play an important role in the continuing growth and success of FedEx Express and its third-party feeder operators in the company’s feeder fleet.

“FedEx is initiating a new, industry-leading pilot development program to ensure a full pipeline of pilots for us and the industry at large,” Smith says. The programme is designed “to assist two of our feeder operators with the recruitment and retention of pilots who wish to develop their skills and experiences to eventually qualify for pilot opportunities at FedEx.”

FedEx Express, along with its feeder operators at Mountain Air Cargo and Empire Airlines, will have a collaborative outreach and engagement program to promote student interest in aviation careers at selected colleges and universities beginning with Delta State University.

As the programme continues to roll out, FedEx and its feeder operators will work with many other leading universities and aviation colleges around the country to educate potential pilots and other students interested in an aviation career on the industry-leading aviation opportunities and development programs available to them at both the feeder operators and at FedEx Express.

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

Mountain Air Cargo president and CEO, Craig Bentley says: “Mountain Air Cargo is thrilled to be part of this exciting opportunity. 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.”

The FedEx feeder fleet complements the company’s jet fleet of more than 360 aircraft, including Boeing 777s, B767s and B757s, MD11s, MD10s, Airbus 300s and Airbus 310s.