November 22, 2018 / 7:14 PM / 23 days ago

Virgin Atlantic in talks to buy Flybe - Sky News

FILE PHOTO: An airport worker examines a flybe aircraft before it takes off from Liverpool John Lennon Airport in Liverpool northern England, May 19 , 2016. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

(Reuters) - Virgin Atlantic Airways is in talks to acquire regional airline Flybe Group Plc (FLYB.L), Sky News reported on Thursday, a week after Flybe said it was in talks to sell itself.

A tie-up with Flybe would provide opportunities to feed passenger traffic into Virgin Atlantic’s long-haul network and access valuable take-off and landing slots at London Heathrow Airport, Sky News reported, citing unnamed sources.

Virgin Atlantic’s main business is UK-to-U.S. flights. The company is owned by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and U.S. airline Delta Air Lines.

The report did not mention any financial details. Flybe has a market capitalization of about 21 million pounds, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

Flybe and Virgin Atlantic declined to comment.

Flybe issued a profit warning in October citing weakening demand, higher fuel costs and a weaker British pound.

Sky News had previously reported that Stobart Group Ltd (STOB.L) was likely to be one of the potential suitors for Flybe.

Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru. Editing by Jane Merriman and Elaine Hardcastle

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