Virgin America faces a possible takeover with New York-based JetBlue Airways and Alaska Air tipped as potential suitors.

A preferred buyer for the San Francisco-based carrier could emerge as early as this week, according to reports in the US.

Virgin America is the ninth largest US airline by traffic and moved into profit in 2013 – six years after being launched.

The carrier, which has a market capitalisation of about $1.7 billion, has started service to Hawaii, expanded into Denver and Dallas and has added flights from Los Angeles.

Its fleet is expanding with five new Airbus aircraft last year, a further five due to enter service in 2016 and ten more on order.

A Virgin America spokesman declined to comment to Bloomberg on speculation concerning mergers or acquisitions.