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Virgin courted by rivals

Virgin Atlantic said it has had “a number of lines of inquiry” since it appointed Deutsche Bank to assess the state of the aviation industry.

The reply has sparked speculation that the loss-making long haul carrier could merge or tie up with other carriers or join an alliance.

The full statement by the airline owned 51% by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group said:  “Following Deutsche Bank’s recent appointment, we have received a number of lines of enquiry but it is far too early to comment on individual details. 

“We expect Deutsche Bank’s work to run on for a number of months but have nothing further to add at this stage.”

Virgin called in the Bank in November to assess the aviation industry which is just emerging from a long spell in the doldrums caused by the world recession.

But there may be opportunities for growth or membership of an alliance.

The oneworld alliance which includes rival BA is not likely to be considered, but both SkyTeam and Star Alliance could be interested.

While both would welcome Virgin for its valuable Heathrow slots, SkyTeam, which currently has no UK member, may be the keener of the two.

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