VIRGIN Express has denied it is close to securing a
merger deal with competitor SN Brussels.

Sir Richard Branson’s airline, which operates from
Brussels, held merger meetings with its rival early last year, but talks
floundered.

It confirmed it had recently been approached by an
investment bank proposing a merger and informal discussions have been held.

However, a Virgin spokesman warned an agreement is far
off. He said: “During the period since the last set of talks, a number of
third parties have suggested renewed merger talks as a way of resolving the
problems faced by Belgian scheduled airlines operating from Brussels. These
discussions have come to nothing.” 

A merger would be advantageous to the two airlines due
to the strong competition they face in the Brussels market. Ryanair has taken a
large chunk of business with its Charleroi service.