Purple Runway pilot training takes off for FedEx

FedEx Purple Runway pilot training

FedEx has launched Purple Runway – its own pilot training programme to ensure the parcels and cargo specialist has sufficient pilots.

“FedEx is initiating a new, industry-leading pilot development programme to ensure a full pipeline of pilots for us and the industry at large,” said Frederick W. Smith, chairman and CEO of FedEX.

“The programm is designed to assist two of our feeder operators with the recruitment and retention of pilots who wish to develop their skills and experiences to eventually qualify for pilot opportunities at FedEx.”

FedEx will promote student interest in aviation careers at selected colleges and universities beginning with Delta State University. As the programme continues to roll out, FedEx and its feeder operators will work with other leading universities and aviation colleges around the US to educate potential pilots and other students interested in an aviation career.

Purple Runway objectives:

  • To further career development of pilots during their employment with the feeder
  • To assist the feeder operator in its efforts to recruit high-quality, well-trained candidates
  • To provide FedEx Express with an early opportunity to evaluate feeder pilots as potential applicants for available FedEx Express trunk positions.
Cessna SkyCourier for FedEx

The new Cessna SkyCourier cargo aircraft being developed especially for FedEx.


Earlier this year, FedEx announced the purchase of 30 ATR 72-600F aircraft with the option to purchase up to 20 more as a first step to modernising the company’s feeder fleet. It also agreed a deal with Textron Aviation for 50 new-design Cessna SkyCourier 408F aircraft, with the option to purchase up to 50 additional aircraft.

FedEx Express feeder network is composed of more than 300 aircraft serving 45 countries including Boeing 777s, B767s and B757s, MD11s, MD10s, Airbus 300s and Airbus 310s.

FedEx Purple Runway