Purple Runway

Your opportunity for an aviation career at FedEx just got better.

To recruit the best aviators in the industry over the coming years, FedEx developed Purple Runway – A FedEx Pathways Program. This innovative program is designed to create a pipeline of highly trained and qualified pilots.

FedEx is working with two of our feeder operators, Mountain Air Cargo and 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.

The FedEx Feeder Network

The FedEx Express feeder network is a strategic component of the overall global linehaul network, serving markets too small for direct FedEx Express air linehaul service. The Feeder network is powered by nearly 300 aircraft under 60,000 pounds maximum gross take-off weight. These aircraft serve over 250 locations around the world.

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

FedEx continues to modernize its feeder fleet with the recent purchase of the ATR 72-600F aircraft as well as the newly designed Cessna SkyCourier 408 aircraft, both scheduled for delivery in 2020.

The company has agreed to purchase 50 clean-sheet design Cessna SkyCourier 408 aircraft, with options to purchase up to 50 additional aircraft. FedEx earlier announced the purchase of 30 ATR 72-600F aircraft with the option to purchase up to 20 more to update the company’s feeder network.


The FedEx Feeder Network

Feeder Network Map

Our Most Recent Success Stories

My Path to FedEx
Lindsay Ervin, First Officer

During my senior year of high school, I was struggling to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up. I had the opportunity to go on a flight with my neighbor, who was a retired airline pilot. John had known I was not interested in the medical field like the rest of my family.

It is hard to describe, but I loved flying instantly. I knew it was a perfect fit for me.

I spent over four and a half years at Mountain Air Cargo. During my time I have not only improved my piloting skills but have met and worked with a ton of great people.  

The first time I heard of the Purple Runway Pathway Program, I thought it was a great opportunity.  It has always been my dream to work for FedEx and I was amazed there was a pathway to achieve my goal.

I am extremely excited to be one of the first to complete the program.  It is an amazing opportunity. The welcoming response throughout FedEx has been exciting to see firsthand.

After operating for FedEx through Mountain Air Cargo, I have seen firsthand what a great company FedEx is.

My advice for future Purple Runway pilots is to stick with it.  If FedEx is your dream, keep up the hard work, the payoff is well worth the effort.

Living My Dream
Jonathan Welch, First Officer

I grew up in West Memphis, Arkansas and have had an interest in airplanes from a young age. I first learned about the field from my dad, Jerry Welch. We built models together, went to airshows and visited many aviation museums.

In the third grade, a FedEx pilot came to school for “Show and Tell.” I still remember thinking how great it would be to be a pilot after that. It wasn't until I was in college that I took my first flight at the West Memphis airport.

I was hooked from the start and knew this is what I wanted to do. I have done flight instructing, passenger charter flying and corporate flying.

I flew for Mountain Air Cargo for over six years and learned a lot along the way. I had the opportunity to work with some really great people at MAC. I believe the experience I gained there will greatly help me in my career at FedEx.

I feel very blessed to be one of the first people to complete the Purple Runway program and land my dream job at FedEx.

FedEx is a great place to work because there are so many people who are passionate about their jobs and genuinely love what they do. My advice for future Purple Runway pilots is to work hard, keep a good attitude, and have fun along the way!

No Matter Where You Are In Your Flight Career

We Have a Spot That’s Just Right For You!

Career Path
Scholarship Programs

Eligibility and Qualifications

Purple Runway Program Eligibility
  • Pilot must be employed for at least six months at Empire Airlines or Mountain Air Cargo before entering the program
  • Ability to hold a first class medical
  • Stable employment history
  • Two-year degree (minimum) or four-year degree (preferred) with a 2.5 of 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
  • Signed program authorization and commitment paperwork
  • Successfully complete CogScreen/Neo test battery
Program Completion
  • Complete four-year degree with a 2.5 or higher GPA from an accredited program
  • Acceptable attendance, reliability, and performance records
  • Complete initial evaluation and all recurrent evaluations
  • Complete minimum service and hour obligation to Empire Airlines or Mountain Air Cargo: 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 an applicant profile on careers.fedex.com/pilot.
  • Maintain ability to hold a first class medical
  • Acceptable training performance (no training or line check failures)
  • Successfully complete Jet Transition Course (JTC), administered no earlier than two years after enrollment date
  • Successfully complete the Job Knowledge Test, administered no earlier than two years after enrollment date
  • Successfully pass the Panel and Situational-based Interviews

Upcoming Events

Stop by and see us at:

University of North Dakota (UND) Aviation Career Fair

Grand Forks, ND
February 4, 2020

National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA)

Palm Springs, CA
February 7, 2020

Florida Tech (FIT) Career Fair

Melbourne, FL
February 12, 2020

Embry-Riddle Daytona Career Fair

Prescott, AZ
February 20, 2020

Embry-Riddle Daytona Career Fair

Daytona Beach, FL
February 25, 2020

International Women in Aviation Conference

Lake Buena Vista, FL
March 5-7, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are current Empire Airlines and Mountain Air Cargo Feeder pilots eligible for the program?


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


3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. Will program failures impact employment at the Feeder?

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