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AP source: Delta-Virgin Atlantic deal is close

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 10, 2012 at 6:31 pm •  Published: December 10, 2012

"We believe that if Delta were to acquire these slots it would put it on an even footing with American ... and United" at Heathrow, airline analyst Ray Neidl wrote in a Dec. 3 note examining the implications of such a deal.

When news of the discussions first surfaced earlier this month, Air France — a partner of Delta's on trans-Atlantic flights — was thought to be interested. However, on Monday it issued a statement saying, "Air France-KLM is not involved in current negotiations between Delta and Singapore."

Virgin Atlantic was founded in 1984, and 51 percent is owned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group. In 2000, Branson sold a piece of it to Singapore Airlines for 600.3 million pounds, about $960 million at the time.

Virgin Atlantic has struggled with losses and said in 2010 that it might be interested in some kind of tie-up with another airline. British media reports at that time said that Delta was interested.