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Thrive Aviation Joins Southwest’s Pilot Pathways Program

The private aviation firm will give potential pilots a direct pathway to the right seat at Southwest.

Southwest Boeing 737s at Paine Field. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Zera)

Thrive Aviation, a Henderson, Nev.-based private aviation services provider, has joined forces with the Southwest Airlines Destination 225 Pilot Pathways Program. This partnership creates a direct pathway for promising pilots to become first officers at Southwest in as little as four years, according to a press release.

Thrive Aviation CEO Curtis Edenfield, a Southwest alumnus, shared his enthusiasm for the collaboration in a press release. “it’s certainly a full circle moment for me,” Edenfield said. “The program catalyzes a new pilot’s aviation career, offering them mentorship, training, and the opportunity to build the needed hours. This partnership is a testament to our shared vision of culture and innovation.”

Named after the southwest heading on a compass rose, the Destination 225 program provides a clear roadmap for aspiring aviators. Through coursework and flight training, cadets earn their commercial pilot’s license.

Thrive Aviation’s light jet fleet (Photo: Thrive Aviation)

The program’s second phase focuses on building flight time as certified flight instructors (CFI), preparing cadets for opportunities with participating airlines like Thrive Aviation. By meeting the program’s requirements, cadets can become candidates for new hire first officer positions at Southwest Airlines.

“Southwest is excited to welcome Thrive Aviation to our Destination 225° Pilot Pathways Program as a new partner in our Cadet Pathway,” said Lee Kinnebrew, Vice President of Flight Operations at Southwest. “The program aims to support and inspire pilots interested in joining Southwest as a First Officer, and we look forward to working with cadet candidates as they build flight experience.”

Thrive Aviation joins several other partners in Southwest’s Destination 225 program. In the private aviation space, the Dallas-based carrier also partners with XOJET Aviation and JetLinx.

Ryan Ewing
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  • Ryan Ewing

    Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 and has amassed considerable experience in the aviation sector. His work has been featured in several publications and news outlets, including CNN, WJLA, CNET, and Business Insider. During his time in the industry, he's worked in roles pertaining to airport/airline operations while holding a B.S. in Air Transportation Management from Arizona State University along with an MBA. Ryan has experience in several facets of the industry from behind the yoke of a Cessna 172 to interviewing airline industry executives. Ryan works for AirlineGeeks' owner FLYING Media, spearheading coverage in the commercial aviation space.

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