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Virgin Atlantic open for possible alliances

india Updated: Apr 20, 2011 22:59 IST
Tushar Srivastava
Tushar Srivastava
Hindustan Times
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Britain's second largest long haul airline-Virgin Atlantic Airways is looking for 'possible alliances and partnerships' and isn't surprised that long-time rival British Airways (BA) evinced interest in picking up a stake in the carrier.

In an interview with the Hindustan Times, Michael Burke, Virgin's India chief and Greg Dawson, director (corporate communication) said India was one of their most important markets and they were 'pleased' by the infrastructural growth.

HT had on March 15 reported that BA was interested in acquiring the airline, owned by billionaire Richard Branson, for the 'valuable slots' that it has at London's Heathrow airport.

"We are attracting a lot of interest from all round the world. There are lots of airlines that want to be seen to be interested in Virgin. We have a massive presence at the busiest airport and everyone wants a stake," Dawson said.

While Dawson declined to name which airlines they were talking to, he said he wasn't surprised that BA had expressed interest. "To have two long haul carriers from a little island like UK and Virgin being able stand the test of time and take on BA in such an impressive way, off course they did be interested."

"We will look at possible alliances and partnerships. Alliances are growing throughout the world. We are reviewing our business. Deutsche Bank is leading the review, understanding where the value is in our organisation," he said.

The airline wants to consolidate its recovery following the economic slowdown before launching flights to other destinations in India. It has a daily flight from Delhi to London. "No doubt there is potential and at some point we will look at Mumbai," Burke said.