Cyrus Smith – Business Bio Summary

July 18, 2018 191 views

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Cyrus Smith was the man who paved the way for American Airlines to be one of the most thriving airlines.

Smith’s strategies on how to improve American Airlines services included in-flight meals served fresh and hot, giving discounts to people who fly regularly (including stewardesses/flight attendants), the enhanced ticket reservation system, and more.

Smith Greatly Influenced and Challenged Airline Systems

A Texan at heart, Cyrus Smith, earned his degree from the University of Texas and went on to work several different jobs until he became vice president of Southern Air Transport when he was 30 years old. Through Southern Air Transport’s merger with American Airlines, Smith was appointed the president for American Airlines.

The airline was doing reasonably acceptable, but as president, Smith wanted to see to it that American Airlines be on the top of their game. He had the idea of offering transcontinental routes to extend the company ‘s airline services.

Smith succeeded in convincing Donald Douglas, a reputable aircraft manufacturer, to make an airplane as roomy as the ones American Airlines operates, but with increased speed and specifications.

A compromise was reached when Smith told Douglas that if he made the aircraft, American Airlines would automatically purchase 20 of the newly designed aircraft, which became known as the DC-3. After the launch of the DC-3, American Airlines passengers began to multiply yearly. By 1939, American Airlines served the most passengers among other domestic airlines.

Cyrus Smith was well known to American Airlines employees. Smith actually knew every employee’s name to be a top-ranking executive position or a lower ranking position. His business sense and style ultimately reflects how significant his contribution is to the transportation industry.

The Cyrus Smith Quick Bio

Name: Cyrus Rowlett Smith

Birthdate: September 9, 1899

Birthplace: Minerva, Texas

Company: American Airlines

Industry: Transportation

Key Success Traits:  knows how to balance employee and employer relationships, a risk-taker.


Apart from being a business leader in the transportation industry, Cyrus Smith also dabbled in politics and entered the Cabinet in 1968. He was with the Cabinet for only a short time due to his distaste for bureaucratic practices.