Final Hours for Varig?

Assets of the bankrupt Varig, Brazil's flag carrier, did not sell at auction yesterday - meaning that Varig could liquidate any day now.

There was only one bid - from a group of Varig employees. And even that bid only totaled half of the asking price for the airline's aircraft and routes. The bankruptcy judge said that he would return a verdict in 24 hours whether to accept the bid or not - which means that a verdict should arrive, literally, any hour now.

Varig's assets would be sold - without debt - and the three billion dollars in debt would be transferred to another company.

According to the AP,
Varig currently has a tiny 16.7 percent share of the domestic market - behind rivals TAM and GOL. But it still has 66.4 percent of the international market - a market that it had a government-supported monopoly on back in the 1970's.

If Varig does go, it'll be a very sad thing. It has been in business since 1927 and has since seen good times and bad times - like now. It will also leave a gap in Star Alliance, the alliance that Varig helped found. But make no mistake - there will be no tears shed at the offices of TAM and GOL, which have long desired the