Virgin Atlantic has fuelled speculation it is about to announce a merger following confirmation the airline has received enquires from a number of suitors.
In a statement the transatlantic airline said it has been contacted by a number of other companies since it appointed Deutsche Bank at the beginning of November to assess the aviation industry and seek growth opportunities.
Virgin Atlantic added: “Following Deutsche Bank’s recent appointment, we have received a number of lines of inquiry 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.”
Delta Air Lines is among the names being mooted as a possible merger partner, with the American airline having appointed Goldman Sachs to advise it.
Delta lost its title as the largest airline in the world earlier this year following the merger of United and Continental Airlines to form United Continental Holdings.
A deal with Virgin Atlantic would see the American carrier gain to Virgin’s landing slots at Heathrow – where it is the second largest carrier.
In turn Virgin Atlantic would benefit from access to the SkyTeam alliance of 13 airlines from around the world.
Virgin Atlantic is presently not a member of any of the major aviation alliances.
Virgin Atlantic is presently 51 per cent owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and 49 per cent owned by Singapore Airlines.
Speculation is also increasing that Sir Richard Branson is preparing to relinquish control of the carrier he founded in 1984 as part of any deal.