fedex purple runway

Purple Runway – A FedEx Pathways Program is an industry-leading pilot development program giving pilots the skills and experience to become a pilot with FedEx, the world’s largest cargo airline.

FedEx recently updated its Purple Runway program with a new GUARANTEED flow.

Program Highlights:

  • Upfront FedEx mainline interview
  • No 6-month wait to join
  • Modified interviews to meet a candidate’s experience level
  • Guaranteed flow to FedEx mainline when program conditions are met
  • A college degree is no longer required
  • Regular interaction with the FedEx team 


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

  • Must be employed as a pilot at an eligible Feeder airline — like Empire Airlines
  • Ability to hold a 1st Class Medical 
  • Stable employment history
  • Pilot has not previously tested or interviewed with FedEx for a trunk (jet) position
  • Eligible to work in the U.S., possess a U.S. Passport and qualify for rapid Visa issuance
  • Signed program authorization and commitment paperwork
  • Successfully pass the mainline interview process

Program Completion Requirements

  • Acceptable attendance, reliability and performance records
  • Complete initial evaluation and all recurrent training (no training or line check failures)
  • 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
  • Complete jet transition course
  • Regular interaction, networking and campus visit at FedEx
  • Possess FAA 1st Class Medical
  • Possess Unrestricted Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate
  • Complete program waypoints
  • Meet minimum requirements for mainline first officer at FedEx


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?


Am I guaranteed a job at FedEx if I am approved as a candidate in the program?

Yes, if you successfully complete all program eligibility requirements and waypoints throughout the program you will direct flow to the FedEx mainline.

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

It depends on how long it takes you to satisfy the Pilot in Command requirements. The minimum commitment is 36 months.

How does Purple Runway work?
  • Obtain employment as a qualified pilot at an eligible Feeder Airlines
  • Complete a Program Agreement, Candidate Release, and a FedEx Purple Runway Application
  • If all pre-requisites are met, you will participate in the hiring process at FedEx to include remote computer-based testing, panel interview, and SBI
  • Complete all waypoints, experience gates, background requirements, and FedEx first officer minimum qualifications
  • Direct Flow to FedEx as a First Officer!
Is there a limit on the number of Purple Runway participants who will be hired by FedEx?

FedEx may impose limits on the number of participants enrolled and the number hired by FedEx in any given year.

Will program failures impact employment at Empire Airlines?

No. Performance on FedEx-related milestones does not impact your employment at the Feeder airline.

Do you have to have a college degree to join the FedEx Purple Runway Program?

No. A college degree is no longer a requirement. FedEx recognizes and values previous experience gained through other endeavors.

Why choose Empire Airlines as a pathway to FedEx?

As a Feeder pilot, you can gain experience needed for a seamless transition to FedEx Express. This includes operating FedEx-owned aircraft within the same system and locations as current FedEx flight crewmembers.

What the relationship between Empire Airlines and FedEx?

FedEx has a contractual relationship with Empire Airlines with FedEx owning the aircraft and Empire Airlines conducting all flight aspects. Empire Airlines is an independent regional airline operating on behalf of FedEx Express.

If I’m not employed by Empire Airlines or other eligible Feeders is there another 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.