Virgin Atlantic has revealed that it is in talks with Flybe that could include a "possible offer" for the UK regional carrier.
Following "recent media speculation", the London-based carrier confirms it is "reviewing its options" in regard to Flybe, which range from "enhanced commercial arrangements to a possible offer".
Virgin Atlantic, which is 49% owned by Delta Air Lines, adds that there can be "no certainty" that an offer will be made nor as to the terms of any offer.
Flybe says Virgin is "one of the parties" it is in discussions with as part of the formal sale process it announced on 14 November.
The Exeter-based carrier says that the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers, the body which regulates takeovers and mergers in the UK, has agreed that discussions with third parties may be conducted within the context of a formal sale process.
Accordingly, Virgin Atlantic will not be subject to a 28-day deadline to make an offer for as long as it is participating in the formal sale process, it adds.
Flybe revealed earlier this month that it is considering a sale of the business as part of a wide-ranging review of strategic options. The airline's board turned down an offer from Stobart for the business earlier this year.