Angelo State University and Southwest Airlines have announced ASU as a university partner in the airline’s Destination 225 pilot recruitment program, which will provide ASU commercial aviation students a defined pathway to become competitively qualified for career opportunities with Southwest Airlines.
On a compass, 225 is the southwest directional heading, and the Destination 225 program was developed to lead aspiring pilots to Southwest Airlines. ASU is just the sixth university partner to join the program since its inception in 2019.
ASU President Ronnie Hawkins Jr. and the Vice President of Flight Operations for Southwest Airlines, Lee Kinnebrew, announced the partnership agreement Wednesday, Aug. 3, on the ASU campus.
“We are honored for Angelo State to partner with Southwest Airlines’ Destination 225 Program,” Hawkins said. “As a Hispanic Serving Institution, we recognize the opportunity a partnership like this presents for all our students to become pilots and aviation professionals, but especially minorities and women who are underrepresented in both the commercial and military aviation industry. This is another great step in achieving both our vision and mission at Angelo State of being an innovative leader in initiatives that provide graduates who are competitive on a global stage. “
“We’re thrilled to welcome Angelo State University as a partner in Southwest’s Destination 225 Program,” Kinnebrew said. “We continue our work of opening career pathways for the next generation of professional pilots, and we look forward to supporting students as they train, gain flight experience and develop into competitively qualified Southwest first officer candidates in the years ahead.”
As early as their sophomore year, ASU students in the Bachelor of Commercial Aviation (BCA) – Flight Operations degree program will be able to apply for Destination 225. If they are accepted and fulfill all the requirements, upon graduating from ASU they will enter a career pathway toward Southwest Airlines that includes:
- Acting as ASU flight instructors for the year following their graduation
- Upon completing the flight instruction time, eligibility to be hired at one of Southwest Airlines’ partner carriers
- After building flight experience at the partner carrier, consideration for pilot positions at Southwest Airlines
The candidate students will also receive ongoing mentorship from a Southwest Airlines pilot during their time at ASU and with the partner carrier.
“Southwest Airlines is honored that Angelo State University is the newest academic partner in our Destination 225 program,” said Juan Suarez, Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Southwest Airlines. “We are hopeful this partnership will provide aspiring commercial pilots at this notably Hispanic Serving Institution a defined career path in aviation, along with the confidence of knowing that they are welcome in our Southwest Airlines’ Family.”
ASU launched its Bachelor of Commercial Aviation program in the fall 2021 semester. There are currently 25 students in the first Flight Operations class, with 50 new students expected to join the program this fall. Pilot training is led by certified flight instructors using a fleet of 12 aircraft and three state-of-the-art simulators provided by Skyline Aviation, which is owned by ASU alumni.
More details about Destination 225 and its training and flying partners are available at careers.southwestair.com/D225. For more details about ASU’s commercial aviation program, go to angelo.edu/commercial-aviation.