Spirit Airlines and Lewis University’s New Pathway Program for Aspiring Pilots Takes Flight near Chicago
Published: April 26, 2023.
Aspiring pilots in the Chicago area can soon soar from a college classroom to the flight deck at Spirit Airlines (NYSE: SAVE). The carrier and Lewis University today announced a new partnership to launch the Spirit Wings Pilot Pathway program at the university’s College of Aviation, Science and Technology in Romeoville, Illinois. The program provides graduates with a direct path to a rewarding career flying for Spirit. Lewis University students can gain valuable experience and complete the steps needed to become a Spirit First Officer while attending a leading aviation university and finishing their college degree.
“We're on a mission to expand our pilot pipeline with more top-notch talent as we continue to grow, and the Chicago area is a great fit to launch the first university-based Spirit Wings Pilot Pathway program in the Midwest,” said Ryan Rodosta, Senior Director of Flight Operations and System Chief Pilot at Spirit Airlines. “We can’t wait to welcome the next generation of pilots from Lewis University, which has exceptional resources and is highly regarded as a leader in aviation training.”
Lewis University students pursuing an aviation technology degree can apply for the program after obtaining a recommendation from a faculty member in the College of Aviation, Science and Technology and completing their sophomore year. If successful in Spirit’s interview process, they will receive a conditional offer of employment, a Spirit Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) and mentorship as they complete their degree and all Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements for a Restricted Airline Transport Pilot (R-ATP) certificate. Graduates who meet all program requirements will join the team as a Spirit First Officer.
“Lewis University is proud to partner with Spirit Airlines and the Spirit Wings Pilot Pathway program,” said Dr. Ryan Phillips, Chair and Professor of Aviation and Transportation at Lewis University. “This agreement allows our high-achieving flight students to earn positions at Spirit. The agreement provides mentorship, resources, and training to Lewis University students and gives them the opportunity to secure a position flying for a mainline carrier after graduation.”
Spirit’s signature yellow planes include some of the newest, most fuel-efficient aircraft in the industry that fly across a network of 90+ destinations. More than two dozen brand-new planes are planned for delivery in 2023, creating opportunities for First Officers to quickly upgrade to Captain. Spirit’s Pilots recently approved a contract that provides a significant pay increase and other enhanced benefits. Spirit also offers its Pilots industry-leading training and great quality of life.
Spirit Wings Pilot Pathway expands the carrier’s presence in Illinois. Spirit currently offers about two dozen daily departures from Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), which is also home to one of the airline’s ten pilot crew bases.
To learn more about the program and application process, visit www.lewisu.edu/spirit-airlines/
Spirit was recognized by Forbes as one of America's Best Employers for Diversity 2022 following its active efforts to create and celebrate a diverse workplace environment. Spirit was also recently named the Value Airline of the Year by Air Transport World (ATW). In addition, the airline was recognized as one of LinkedIn's Top Companies in Travel & Hospitality in 2022, which ranks the 25 best workplaces to grow a career in the industry. Spirit was also recognized for safety with the FAA's "Aviation Maintenance Technician Diamond Award of Excellence" for the fourth consecutive year.
About Spirit Airlines:
Spirit Airlines (NYSE: SAVE) is committed to delivering the best value in the sky. We are the leader in providing customizable travel options starting with an unbundled fare. This allows our Guests to pay only for the options they choose — like bags, seat assignments, refreshments and Wi-Fi — something we call À La Smarte®. Our Fit Fleet® is one of the youngest and most fuel-efficient in the United States. We serve destinations throughout the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean, making it possible for our Guests to venture further and discover more than ever before. We are committed to inspiring positive change in the communities where we live and work through the Spirit Charitable Foundation. Come save with us at spirit.com.
About Lewis University:
Lewis University is an innovative Catholic university offering market-relevant undergraduate and graduate programs to 6,500 students. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis University is nationally recognized for preparing intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, and globally-connected graduates who impact the world for the better. Visit www.lewisu.edu for further information.