Virgin Atlantic is in talks to take over struggling regional carrier Flybe, SkyNews reports, citing internal sources.
This follows last week’s news that Flybe is putting itself up for sale, after experiencing a tough financial year. The British carrier is the largest regional airline in the world.
Virgin Atlantic was always interested in entering the domestic market, mostly to feed its own long-haul traffic with transfer passengers. In 2012, the airline tried setting up its own regional carrier, called ‘Virgin Atlantic Little Red’, but the subsidiary failed and shut down just one year later.
A takeover of the regional airline would also give Virgin valuable takeoff and landing slots for London’s Heathrow Airport.
Flybe already has a codeshare agreement in place with Virgin Atlantic, meaning that passengers are able to transfer between the two airlines on selected flights.
When contacted by International Flight Network, Virgin Atlantic refused to comment.
Jakob Wert is an aviation journalist from Germany. He built up the website IFN.news and is the Editor-In-Chief of International Flight Network.