Manchester Airports Group is being linked to bids for either Stansted or Edinburgh airports.

The group, which is owned by 10 local councils, is considering a range of options, including issuing shares to new investors.

MAG is also examining plans to create a joint venture with infrastructure or pension funds to bid for one of the BAA hubs, according to the Sunday Times.

Airports operator BAA has been forced to sell Stansted and Edinburgh by the Competition Commission after the sale of Gatwick.

The company is appealing against the Stansted ruling but is pressing ahead with the sale of Edinburgh.

Gatwick was sold to Global Infrastructure Partners, owner of London City airport, for £1.5 billion in 2009.

MAG, which also manages East Midlands, Humberside and Bournemouth airports, told the newspaper that it was “finalising a strategic review of our business”, which could include the option of adding a “quality airport” to its portfolio.

“Like any growing business we explore all options to fund our growth plans to drive greater shareholder returns,” it said.