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Southwest Airlines launches new pilot pathways program; Southeastern aviation one of four university partners

September 17, 2019


DURANT, Okla. – Southwest Airlines Co. recently announced the launching of 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° provides several pathways designed to meet future, high-potential aviators at their current experience level and create opportunities for them to become highly skilled and expertly qualified for future opportunities at Southwest. To accomplish this goal, Southwest is partnering with well-known industry partners that will provide participants with training and flight experience that reinforces the Southwest Way of flying as candidates complete their journey to becoming a professional Pilot.

The University pathway is designed for collegiate aviators who attend a Southwest partner university or complete a Southwest Campus Reach Internship. Southwest is excited to partner with four universities to offer this transition training: the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma, and Arizona State University. Corporate flying partners for the University pathway include XO Jet, Jet Linx, and Swift Air.

Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s aviation program has earned a reputation for excellence, while attracting students from all across the nation.

Since the program’s inception in 1966, Southeastern has placed professional pilots throughout the world.

Degrees are offered in aviation-professional pilot, aviation management, and a master’s in aerospace administration and logistics. Program locations include Durant, Rose State College, and Tinker Air Force Base.

“It is with great pleasure that Southeastern Oklahoma State University joins Southwest Airlines in the announcement of a cooperative agreement to provide Professional Pilot majors a pathway toward a lifetime career with Southwest Airlines,’’ said Lloyd Sauls, director of the Southeastern Aviation Sciences Institute. “Students who meet certain criteria may join a cadre of pilots who will be the first to be considered for follow-on work opportunities. These work opportunities will qualify individuals for training as a Southwest Airlines pilot in the right seat of a Boeing 737.

“Many of the smaller details of the program are still being developed and along with our partner Southwest Airlines, we will announce these details as the program is implemented in its entirety. Our mission at the Aviation Sciences Institute is to provide the best aviation-oriented education possible, while encouraging young aviators along their chosen career path. A path such as this is the dream of many young pilots.’’

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 apply for selection as a Southwest Airlines First Officer. Participants will go through comprehensive training and a continuous evaluation process that will allow them to meet or potentially exceed Southwest’s competitive hiring qualifications while preparing to be safe and efficient pilots.

There is no cost to apply to the program; however, candidates advancing through the selection process will be responsible for all costs incurred for their respective training programs.

“Destination 225° will allow us to develop world-class pilots who are ready to fly ‘The Southwest Way,’” said Alan Kasher, Vice President of Flight Operations. “This comprehensive pilot development mission is designed to make becoming a Southwest Pilot an attainable goal for passionate, qualified individuals. Pilots who come to Southwest through the Destination 225° pathways will receive training specific to Southwest Airlines from one of our partners and will be held to our existing minimum requirements for First Officers, so we are looking for participants who demonstrate Living the Southwest Way and also have the technical aptitude to excel in all aspects of their training and development as a pilot.”

For more information on the program, please visit: https://careers.southwestair.com/d225university