Virgin Atlantic confirms a number of approaches

Marion Dakers
VIRGIN ATLANTIC confirmed yesterday that it has received “a number of lines of enquiry” from other airlines about a possible tie-up or merger deal.

Sir Richard Branson’s airline said it has appointed Deutsche Bank to help handle the approaches, which it said are likely to run on for a number of months.

Rivals including US-based Delta Airlines have been named as the interested parties, though Delta told City A.M yesterday: “As a matter of policy, we do not comment on industry rumors or speculation about potential airline partnership.”

Deutsche Bank also declined to comment.

Branson has previously talked about merging Virgin Atlantic with another carrier in order to compete as the market consolidates.

Singapore Airlines, which owns a 49 per cent stake in Virgin Atlantic, is thought to remain keen to offload its holding.

Virgin’s path to a tie-up has recently been cleared by British Airways and Iberia, which got their £5bn merger past regulators on both sides of the Atlantic last month. Virgin had earlier protested against the deal, claiming it could stifle competition.

Virgin ended talks with Lufthansa last year about a potential acquisition of British airline bmi.