The International Airlines Group (IAG) has reportedly entered the race to buy cash-strapped regional carrier Flybe and is emerging as the front-runner as it does battle with Virgin Atlantic.
IAG is leading the race to buy Flybe, the Sunday Telegraph reported on Saturday, citing “multiple industry sources”.
Virgin Atlantic is also in talks with Flybe about a sale or closer alliance a few weeks after cash-strapped Flybe put itself up for sale earlier in November. The Stobart Group was also a likely suitor but easyJet and Ryanair have said they are not interested in buying Flybe.
Last month, Flybe warned that its full-year losses would amount to £22 million due to falling consumer demand, a weaker pound and higher fuel costs.
Flybe added that there was no certainty that an offer would be made by Virgin and Virgin said it was “reviewing its options in respect of Flybe which range from enhanced commercial arrangements to a possible offer for Flybe”.
Earlier this month, Flybe said it was “in discussions with a number of strategic operators about a potential sale of the company”.
The regional carrier operates a fleet of 78 aircraft serving eight million passengers a year and has in-demand slots at Heathrow and Gatwick along with a wide network covering many regional UK airports.