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Delta 'may buy Virgin Atlantic stake'

Delta 'may buy Virgin Atlantic stake'
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Delta has emerged as a possible buyer of a 49 percent stake in the British airline Virgin Atlantic.

Singapore Airlines has confirmed it is in talks with interested parties to sell its holding in Virgin.

Delta – which is the second biggest US airline in terms of operating revenue – is reportedly keen to gain access to Virgin’s landing rights at London’s Heathrow airport.

To meet EU ownership rules Delta may join up with Air France-KLM which could also take a small stake in Virgin.

The European Union requires that EU carriers be under European control. Virgin’s British founder, Richard Branson, owns 51 percent of the airline. If Air France-KLM were to buy a small percentage of Branson’s stake, then Virgin could continue to be European controlled.

Delta has been looking to acquire a Virgin stake for more than two years but previous talks broke down over price and other issues, and there is no guarantee that its recent discussions would result in a pact, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Singapore Airlines also cautioned that the discussions might not result in a deal.