Singapore Airlines (SIA) is currently in talks to sell its 49 per cent stake in Virgin Atlantic.
This should come as no surprise. Four years ago, SIA’s CEO Goh Choon Phong, described its stake in Virgin Atlantic as an “underperforming” investment and said it would consider a sale. (Note: news piece dated 2010 but quote dates back to 2008.)
Although SIA would not comment publicly on who is interested in acquiring the stake (for which it paid £600 million in 1999), media reports indicate that US carrier Delta is the interested party.
If Delta were to acquire Virgin Atlantic it would gain access to the latter’s valuable slot portfolio at London Heathrow.
Overnight it would also become a much stronger force on the North Atlantic and all its UK routes would benefit from the domestic feeder routes which Virgin is in the process of establishing.
It is unclear at this stage whether or not Air France and KLM (fellow Skyteam members along with Delta) would be willing to purchase the remaining 51 per cent share of Virgin Atlantic should Sir Richard Branson wish to sell.
Report by Alex McWhirter