Pan Am, one of America's most venerable symbols abroad, finally stopped flying on Dec. 4 after years of decline. A last-ditch effort to save the carrier by Delta and the airline's creditors came to naught on Dec. 3 when Delta walked away from the deal, citing a sharp decline in bookings and a steep hike in costs.
Delta will retain Pan Am's European system and its Northeast shuttle, assets it bought earlier for $416 million. But it still has trouble. Delta is unlikely to retrieve the $115 million it pumped into Pan Am to keep that carrier aloft as it tried to remake itself into a smaller company serving Latin America. And Pan Am's creditors plan to sue Delta for bargaining in bad faith. Meantime, Pan Am will try to peddle its lucrative Latin America routes. TWA and United are likely bidders.