Portugal’s largest private airline has emerged as a surprise bidder for Thomas Cook Group’s airline business.

Hi Fly is reported to have made a non-binding offer for the travel group’s airline arm, according to the Mail on Sunday.

Thomas Cook put its airline up for sale in February, with Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic and Indigo Partners among suitors believed to have bid for part or all of the airline business.

Private equity group Triton Partners has bid for the firm’s Nordic operations.

Hi Fly is a widebody aircraft wetlease specialist with operations worldwide operating a fleet of Airbus aircraft including the A380 superjumbo and A330neo.

It operates two affiliated airlines based in Portugal and Malta.

No-one from Hi Fly has commented on the reports.