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Celebrating World Pilots’ Day with Destination 225°


Today, Southwest Airlines celebrates World Pilots’ Day by throwing it back to this video about what it means to be Pilot for Southwest! In 2019, we launched a new career program called Destination 225°, which provides pathways to becoming a competitively qualified candidate for future Southwest First Officer positions. On a compass rose, 225° is the southwest directional heading; therefore, Destination 225° was developed to lead aspiring pilots to Southwest.





The industry’s retirement rates in the coming years—in some ways escalated by the pandemic—will increase our demand for qualified and skilled pilots in the future. Destination 225° gives us the opportunity to build a talent pipeline and help ensure we have the right People lined up when we need them the most.


Destination 225° Program Details

Destination 225° provides several pathways designed to meet future pilots where they are and create opportunities to take them to the right seat of a Southwest aircraft.


“Destination 225° will support Southwest Airlines by developing world-class pilots who are ready to fly ‘The Southwest Way’,” said Alan Kasher, Southwest Airlines’ Executive Vice President Daily Operations. “We’re proud to partner with CAE in this comprehensive pilot development mission designed to make a pathway to becoming a Southwest Pilot an attainable goal for passionate, qualified individuals. CAE is an experienced, global leader in pilot training programs, and we look forward to working together for years to come.”


While the pandemic tampered our originally projected 2021 class counts for our Destination 225° Program, we remain committed to filling a number of classes to continue to support our Cadet pathway and in turn our Pilot recruitment and onboarding capabilities years from now. Our Cadet pathway applications are open year-round, and we interview in cycles to fill near monthly class slots.


Destination 225° Cadet Pathway

Designed for both internal and external candidates, the Destination 225° Cadet Pathway is an Ab Initio program, meaning “from the beginning.” If you don’t have previous experience as a pilot, this four- to five-year program is for you. Southwest is proud to offer the Cadet pathway in partnership with CAE, a worldwide leader in training for the civil aviation, defense and security, and healthcare markets. 


The Cadet pathway is designed for someone without previous flight experience, so prior flight time does not provide any advantages during the application process or assist in the reduction of the cost of training.



Be sure to ask that friend or family member who’s always had their eyes towards the clouds: “Where is your compass leading you?” Or, is that person you? If so, you’re encouraged to check out our Cadet pathway webpage and apply!


Learn more on the Destination 225° page of our Southwest Careers website at