17032015Tue

Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

Singapore to sell Virgin Atlantic stake as Delta eyes Heathrow foothold

Singapore Airlines is to sell its 49% stake in Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic, with Delta Air Lines emerging as the buyer, according to reports.

Mr Branson holds a controlling 51% in the West Sussex-based carrier which began operations in 1984.

A partnership with Virgin would allow US-based Delta to access the lucrative transatlantic business travellers market between the US and London.

Singapore Air bought its 49% stake in Virgin in 2000 for about £551m ($884m) and has since made regular investments in the airline, which made an operating loss of £80 million in the last financial year.

Delta, the second-biggest US airline, has been looking to buy into Virgin for more than two years, as it looks to increase its access to London's Heathrow airport.

Virgin is the second-biggest airline at Heathrow airport.

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