Pilot training: Thrive Aviation partners with Southwest Airlines

Thrive Aviation light jet fleet photo
Photo Credit: Thrive Aviation
Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read

Thrive Aviation has announced its participation in the Southwest Airlines Destination 255° Pilot Pathways Program.

By building hours with verified partners, the Cadet Pathway creates opportunities for new pilots to become Southwest Airlines First Officers in as little as four years.

A “Full Circle Moment”


For Chief Executive Officer Curtis Edenfield, an alum of Southwest Airlines, this partnership holds special significance. Edenfield remarks,

“This program marks a full circle moment for me. It not only catalyzes a new pilot’s aviation career but also reflects our shared vision of culture and innovation.”

Thrive Aviation is now set to play a pivotal role in nurturing the next generation of aviators through mentorship, training, and providing essential opportunities for building flight hours.

The Cadet Pathway


The heart of this collaboration lies in the Cadet Pathway, a dynamic initiative designed to fast-track the progression of aspiring pilots. The program unfolds in two phases, beginning with comprehensive courses and flight training.

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Thrive Aviation G600 and two Longitudes. Photo: Thrive Aviation

Cadets embark on the journey of accumulating hours in single and multi-engine aircraft, coupled with simulator training, ultimately leading to the attainment of a commercial pilot’s license.

In the program’s second phase, cadets transition into certified flight instructors, gaining additional flight hours that qualify them to apply for various partners within the program.

This strategic approach ensures cadets are not only trained but competitively qualified for the coveted opportunity to join the Southwest Airlines crew.

Southwest Airlines Comments


Lee Kinnebrew, Vice President of Flight Operations at Southwest Airlines, expresses his enthusiasm about welcoming Thrive Aviation to the Destination 225° Pilot Pathways Program.

Kinnebrew states, “Southwest is excited to welcome Thrive Aviation to our Destination 225° Pilot Pathways Program as a new partner in our Cadet Pathway.”

The program’s primary goal is to support and inspire pilots with a keen interest in joining Southwest as First Officers.

A line of Southwest Airlines aircraft parked at the terminal.
Photo Credit: Southwest Airlines

Thrive Aviation and Southwest Business


In addition to the Destination 225° Program, Thrive Aviation has found immense success and value in its collaboration with Southwest Business and Southwest Business Assist™.

The engagement at the national account level signifies the depth of partnership Thrive Aviation enjoys with Southwest Airlines.

Edenfield emphasizes, “Southwest Business has proven invaluable to Thrive Aviation and our operation. We rely on Southwest Business weekly – often daily – to fly our employees across the entire network. It’s an incredible tool, and we could not be happier!”

Thrive Aviation is a U.S. owned and globally operated curator of private aviation services, recognized as one of the Nation’s Top 20 charter operators.

With corporate headquarters in Henderson, Nevada’s exclusive Green Valley Corporate Center, the operator serves the North American and global markets from its operational base in Las Vegas, NV. 

Thrive Aviation’s owned/operated and managed fleets of light, super-mid, large cabin, and ultra-long-range aircraft have steadily emerged as some of the industry’s most coveted aircraft.

About Destination 225° Pilot Pathways Program


The Cadet pathway is ab initio—”from the beginning”—program that provides passionate, skilled individuals with a multi-year training program in partnership with US Aviation Academy, CAE, and Sky Warrior.

The program prepares qualified candidates to apply for positions with program partners, including Advanced Air, iAero Group, Jetlinx, SkyWest, and Vista, and gain the flying experience necessary to become a competitive First Officer candidate at Southwest Airlines.

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Thrive Aviation has announced its participation in the Southwest Airlines Destination 255° Pilot Pathways Program.
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