Virgin Atlantic could be part of a bid to buy Gatwick if airport operator BAA is broken up next year as expected.
Sir Richard Branson said at the weekend: “We are open to being courted by anyone interested in bidding.”
The Competition Commission is due to give its final decision on BAA’s future in March, but stated last month that it was likely to order the sale of Gatwick, Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh.
The move would separate ownership of Heathrow and Gatwick for the first time. Virgin Atlantic operates from both airports and has joined other carriers in lobbying for a break up. However, the airline has gone further and called for a break up within airports – with terminals run by competing companies.
A spokesman for Virgin Atlantic confirmed yesterday that the carrier would only be interested in buying Gatwick as part of a consortium.