Virgin Atlantic is in “fairly advanced talks” to join an aviation alliance as the carrier seeks to boost its competitive position and restore earnings.

President Sir Richard Branson confirmed discussions as the carrier resumed flights from Heathrow to Mumbai in India after a four-year gap.

“Virgin Atlantic has always enjoyed its independence, but since pretty well every competitor that we have has an alliance I think we have finally decided that to survive we need to have an alliance,” he told Bloomberg.

He declined to name which group the airline is speaking with, although the Delta-led SkyTeam alliance or the Star Alliance are seen as the most likely candidates.

Reaching an alliance agreement “will definitely strengthen Virgin”, Sir Richard said. “It will be good for the travelling public and good for Virgin Atlantic’s bottom line.”

The airline is considering routes to other Indian destinations such as Hyderabad, Goa and Bangalore, Sir Richard told a press conference in Mumbai.