fedex purple runway

Purple Runway – A FedEx Pathways Program is an innovative program designed to create a pipeline of highly trained and qualified pilots.

FedEx is working with feeder operators like Empire Airlines to recruit and retain pilots with the goal of ultimately qualifying for the FedEx trunk fleet.

Purple Runway guides feeder pilots through the necessary steps to becoming a FedEx pilot. For eligible candidates, the structured program builds your career by offering: college tuition assistance, advanced training, PIC time and mentoring.

After six months with the feeder airline and an associate degree, pilots are eligible to begin the program.


You can participate no matter where you are in your flying career: College level or feeder airline experience. This is a structured program to build your career to Jet Transition Training offering Pilot-in-Command time, advance training, college tuition assistance and mentoring. Eligible pilots enter into a Participant Agreement with Empire Airlines. Participants must successfully complete requirements and demonstrate they meet the experience, skills and qualifications of the FedEx pilot job.

Program Eligibility

  • Pilot must be employed at Empire Airlines at least 6 months prior to entering program
  • Ability to hold a 1st Class Medical | Stable employment history
  • 2-year degree (minimum) or 4-year degree (preferred) with a 2.5 or higher GPA from accredited college/university or AABI accredited aviation program
  • Pilot has not previously tested or interviewed with FedEx for a trunk position
  • Eligible to work in the U.S. and qualify for rapid Visa issuance
  • Sign program authorization and commitment paperwork
  • Successfully complete CogScreen/NEO test battery

Program Completion Requirements

  • Complete 4-year degree with a 2.5 or higher GPA from accredited program
  • Acceptable attendance, reliability and performance records
  • Complete initial evaluation and all recurrent evaluations
  • Complete minimum service and hour obligation to Empire Airlines: At least 36 months of active service and a minimum of 500 hours as PIC for multi-engine turbo prop aircraft
  • Attend the FedEx Experience Summit
  • Complete applicant profile on
  • Maintain ability to hold 1st Class Medical
  • Acceptable training performance (No training or line check failures)
  • Complete the FedEx Pass Board Review
  • Successfully complete Jet Transition Course (JTC), administered no earlier than 2 years after enrollment date
  • Successfully complete Job Knowledge Test, administered no earlier than 2 years after enrollment date
  • Successfully pass the panel and situational-based interviews


Are all Feeder Pilots eligible for the program?

At this time, the FedEx Purple Runway Program is available for current Empire Airlines, IFL Group and Mountain Air Cargo pilots meeting the minimum requirements.

Do you have to be employed at the Feeder Airline to participate in the program?


If a pilot has already interviewed at FedEx and was turned down, can they participate in the program?

No. The program is limited to Feeder pilots who have not previously tested or interviewed with FedEx for a pilot job.

How long will it take for a program participant to be eligible for hire at FedEx?

At least 36 months of active service and a minimum of 500 hours as PIC for multi-engine turbo prop aircraft.

Is there a limit on the number of Program Participants FedEx will hire?

FedEx may impose reasonable limits on the number of participants enrolled in the program and the number hired as trunk pilots in any given calendar year.

Will program failures impact employment at the Feeder?

No. Your performance on FedEx related milestones does not impact your employment at the Feeder.

Why should you choose a FedEx Feeder for a pathway to FedEx?

As a FedEx Feeder pilot, you will be able to gain the experience you need for a seamless transition to FedEx Express.  This includes operating FedEx-owned aircraft within the same system/locations as current FedEx flight crewmembers.

How long does it “actually take” to being hired at FedEx, via the pathway program?

Our program has produced successful candidates in as little as three years (and four days exactly) to as long as five years. Your path and timeline depends on your flight time accumulation, and other opportunities at the Feeders.

Do you have to have a College degree to join the FedEx Purple Runway Program? If so, does it need to be Aviation Specific?

At this time, only an associate’s degree is required to join the Purple Runway. This degree, does NOT need to be in an aviation discipline.

How can I join the Purple Runway Pathway program?

Be hired by one of the FedEx Feeders, and you will be eligible after six months of employment.

What’s the relationship between Feeder airlines and FedEx mainline?

FedEx maintains a contractual relationship with its group of feeder Operators with FedEx owning the aircraft and the Operators conducting all aspects (flight ops, a/c mx, flight following/dispatch, etc.) In short, our Feeders are independent regional airlines operating on behalf of FedEx Express.

Does the Purple Runway program guarantee me, upon successful completion, a First Officer position with FedEx express?

No, successful completion of the Program positions the participant for preferential consideration during the process of selection and evaluation for a position as a FedEx mainline First Officer.

If I’m not employed by either Empire Airlines, MAC or IFL Group is there any other way to enroll in the program?

Currently, (aside from the associated aviation collegiate scholarship components of the program), Empire Airlines, Mountain Air Cargo and IFL Group are the only Feeder operators participating in the program. Our Cessna Caravan operators do, however, have MOUs between the Purple Runway operators for internal recruitment.

Will the new 408 SkyCourier be integrated into the program in any capacity?

YES! As the aircraft meets FedEx Express’ aircraft experience requirements, the Cessna SkyCourier is now part of the Purple Runway Pathway Program, along with our fleet of ATR aircraft.