About this Famous Person
CEO of Continental Airlines from 1936 to 1981
Source : Tim DOWLING
Robert F. Six was one of the last of the group of innovators, pioneers, and visionaries (including Juan Trippe, William A. Patterson, Jack Frye, C.R. Smith, and Eddie Rickenbacker) who built the airline industry into what it is today. Six saw his own airline grow from a tiny, three-stop operation into a major global network airline with services spanning the U.S. and Canada, extending to Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, and Latin America.
Robert Six started his business career in sales for a public utility company, but was fired for taking flying lessons in company time. Six learned to fly in an Alexander Eaglerock biplane with an OX-5 engine. After about 10 hours aloft, he received pilot's license (number 5772) in 1929, at the age of 22. He bought an OX-5-powered Travel Air biplane from Walter Beech, founded the Valley Flying Service, and proceeded to sell scenic rides to passengers, and to race on weekends.
Though many credit Six with being the founder of Continental Airlines, the airline's history dates to 1934 when it was operated under the name of Varney Speed Lines by its owners Walter Varney and Louis Mueller. The future international airline had humble beginnings, operating between El Paso, TX and Pueblo, CO with stops in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Vegas, NM. Mueller gained control of the carrier in 1936 and sold 40% of the company to Six. In July 1937, Robert Six changed the name of Varney Speed Lines to Continental Airlines and the carrier moved its headquarters to Denver, Colorado, which would become the airline's central hub for the next 55 years.
- Category Industrialist, Businessman