Seven Southwest Pilots stand together next to a plane.

Destination 225°

Where is your navigation leading you?

On a compass rose, 225° is the southwest heading, and we developed Destination 225° to lead aspiring pilots to Southwest Airlines®. 

The Southwest Airlines Destination 225° Program includes various pathways to provide the opportunity to get you to the right seat of a Southwest® aircraft. Set your course for 225°.
What it's like to be a Southwest Pilot

Destination 225° Pathways

You've possibly heard that there's the potential for a pilot shortage across the industry. Our Destination 225° Program helps Southwest reduce our dependency on the open market by allowing us to train future pilots on how to fly... and, specifically, how to fly The Southwest Way. For participants, the program paves the way to a career at the nation's largest domestic carrier based on Passengers carried and regularly recognized among the best companies in the world and as a great place to work. 

Whether hired from our Destination 225° pathways or through the traditional process, we hold the Pilot accountable to Southwest standards. For more information on becoming a First Officer at Southwest Airlines, learn more about the standards. Through the Destination 225° Program, combined with our continued traditional hiring of First Officers, we aim for the most experienced, passionate, and well-trained aviators joining the Southwest Team.
A Pilot's hand in the cockpit
Cadet Pathway
The Cadet Pathway is an ab initio—“from the beginning”—program. If you don’t have previous experience as a pilot, this four- to five-year program is for you. Southwest is proud to offer this program in a partnership with CAE, a worldwide leader in training for the civil aviation, defense and security, and healthcare markets. 
A Southwest Pilot touches the heart on a Southwest plane
University Pathway
The University Pathway is designed for collegiate aviators who attend a Southwest partner university or complete a Southwest Campus Reach Internship. Southwest partners with five universities to offer this transition training.
A military pin on a Southwest Pilot's uniform
Military Pathway
This Military pathway bridges the gap for active military pilots who do not yet meet the minimums to start their career as an airline pilot. If you have transitioned to a staff assignment or are a rotor/powerlift military pilot, this pathway could help you develop the skills and experience for fixed-wing airline operations. Southwest is proud to offer this transition training through a partnership with Bell Murray Aviation.
Southwest Employees wave at a Southwest plane on the runway
Employee Pathway
At Southwest, we’re known for our incredible Employees. We're proud to offer Employee pathways in a partnership with CAE, a worldwide leader in training for the civil aviation, defense and security, and healthcare markets, and US Aviation Academy.

If you’re a Southwest Employee, please see SWALife to learn more.

Training partners

We're proudly working to partner with the following training organizations who are all passionate about creating safe and effective future airline pilots.

Program partners

We're proud of our partnerships with the following organizations who will employ Destination 225° participants and empower them to build the quality experience required before applying for selection to join the Southwest Team. 

Destination 225° FAQs