Virgin Atlantic has reportedly held discussions to takeover Flybe, which recently put itself up for sale. Virgin's interest in buying Flybe is said to have been sparked due to the potential it would offer Virgin to feed UK regional traffic into its long-haul network. It would also offer the additional bonus of providing the airline with access to valuable take-off and landing slots at London Heathrow Airport which are ring-fenced for domestic flights.

The two carriers already operate a codeshare agreement on a number of routes, which was extended last year to include Flybe’s services between Heathrow and the Scottish cities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

Sky News reports:‘A takeover of Flybe by Virgin Atlantic could be complicated by competition from a rival bidder such as the Stobart Group as well as the protracted state of negotiations about Virgin Atlantic's ownership.  Industry insiders confirmed that Virgin Atlantic and Stobart were the leading potential bidders for Flybe. It is understood that EasyJet is not interested in making an offer for the company.’

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