Virgin brand at risk if Delta takes over

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The Independent Online

The Virgin Atlantic brand will disappear from the skies if Delta succeeds with its bid for Sir Richard Branson's airline, Willie Walsh claimed in the latest in a long line of verbal spars between the two aviation bosses. Delta, the second-biggest United States airline, is interested in buying Singapore Airlines' 49 per cent stake in Virgin, as the Asian airline tries to move its focus from the crowded European market to South-east Asia and Australia. To bid for Virgin successfully, Delta would have to invest alongside Air France-KLM, its European partner, due to European Union aviation rules. Sir Richard is reported to be in final negotiations to cede control with the chance that a deal could be agreed later this week.