Virgin Atlantic Ltd said this week it was continuing to look at a range of options for Flybe Group Plc, including making a takeover offer, weeks after the British regional airline announced it was open to a sale.
Flybe said last month it was in talks with potential buyers, but added it was also looking at other options, such as further reductions in capacity and costs. Virgin Atlantic was one of the interested parties, it had said.
Virgin Atlantic, founded by billionaire Richard Branson, has a trading and codeshare relationship with Flybe, and in November it said it was reviewing other options to deepen the partnership, including a possible buyout of Flybe.
Flybe Value And Air Travel Boom
Get a FREE Digital Subscription!Enjoy full access to Hospitality Ireland, our weekly email news digest, all website and app content, and every digital issue.
Flybe, which flies 76 aircraft, has a market value of about £32.9 million pounds, according to Refinitiv data. Its shares have fallen over 50% this year.
The talks come during a boom in global air travel and also as airlines look to consolidate because of rising running costs, largely higher fuel prices, and increased competition from budget carriers.
An acquisition of Flybe would give Virgin Atlantic, part owned by US carrier Delta Air Lines Inc, access to 192 routes serving 14 countries from 75 departure points in the UK and Europe.