Virgin Atlantic: Is Delta an interested buyer?
Virgin Atlantic Airways may soon have a new shareholder. Singapore Airlines is in talks to sell its 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic to Delta Air Lines. A deal would help Delta lay claim to highly competitive US to London airline routes.
The airline said in a statement it's in discussions with "interested parties" about a sale.
A person with knowledge of the possible deal told The Associated Press that Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. is in talks with Singapore Airlines about buying theÂ VirginÂ AtlanticÂ stake. The person requested anonymity because the talks are ongoing.
VirginÂ AtlanticÂ is the second-biggest airline at London's Heathrow airport, behind British Airways and BA is a partner with Delta competitor American Airlines. Takeoff and landing rights there are limited, a barrier for airlines that want to add flights.
A Delta partnership withÂ VirginÂ AtlanticÂ on U.S.-London routes would allow it to benefit fromÂ Virgin'sÂ established position at Heathrow.
Some 51 percent ofÂ VirginÂ Atlantic, which was founded in 1984, is owned by Branson'sÂ VirginÂ Group. Singapore Airlines bought its stake from Branson in early 2000 for 600.3 million British pounds.
Singapore Airlines said in its statement that the talks may or may not result in a deal.
AP Airlines Writer Joshua Freed in Minneapolis contributed.