Transportation: Get 'Em While They Last

As weak airlines falter, four giant U.S. carriers are picking up the pieces and racing toward global dominance

Think of Delta Air Lines, and the hubs that come to mind are Atlanta, Salt Lake City and Dallas. But now Delta customers can dream of more exotic destinations: Brussels, Vienna, Rome, New Delhi, Moscow. Last week Delta snapped up most of what's left of failing Pan Am, collecting the pioneering carrier's transatlantic routes serving Europe, Asia and Africa, its sprawling Frankfurt hub, its northeastern shuttle and other assets -- for just $260 million, about what the shuttle alone would have cost a year ago. Even as Delta was announcing its coup, United Airlines was circling over the remains, negotiating to...

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