Airasia chief lets fly over reports of takeover bid for Virgin Atlantic

The chief executive of Malaysia's Airasia has denied that he is considering a possible takeover bid for Virgin Atlantic, according to Malaysian reports.

CEO Tony Fernandes, responding to reports that he had renewed an interest in the British airline, said no such talks had taken place. Reports had suggested that Airasia, which is the continent's largest budget carrier by fleet size, had previously considered and decided against a bid which could be worth up to 1bn.

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Virgin Atlantic said earlier this month that it had received several "lines of enquiry" about tie-ups with rival carriers after it hired Deutsche Bank to assess the aviation market.

The airline said the bank's review was expected to last for several months and did not name those interested in a possible tie-up.

Analysts believe larger carriers such as Virgin Atlantic need partners to stay ahead of the competition.