Virgin Atlantic Airways has dropped out of the bidding for Johannesburg-based Sun Air. The UK carrier had hoped to use Sun Air as the basis for a sub-Saharan domestic network.

Sun Air did produce worse than expected results, but Virgin says that it merely wants to keep its options open. The expected bidders on 21 July are Malaysia Airlines, Rethabile-Comair, Phoenix Venture Partners and former Virgin bidding partner Bhekilanga.

The UK airline is a potential bidder for a stake in South African Airways (SAA). It is expected that the South African Government will put around 25% of SAA up for sale in late 1998. British Airways has already indicated that it is likely to make a bid for the airline.

Virgin already operates direct ßights to Johannesburg.

Source: Flight International