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Virgin Atlantic has confirmed it is looking into a potential bid for struggling UK regional airline Flybe.

The talks, which Sky News first reported, are at a very early stage and Flybe said that it is also in discussion with other parties.

Flybe put itself up for sale earlier this month when it launched a strategic review of the business, citing “challenges facing the airline industry.” It has struggled in recent years and in October issued a profit warning.

Since kicking off the sales process, Flybe has raised some cash through a sale and leaseback property deal, as well as releasing $5 million secured against one of its aircraft.

Should Virgin Atlantic’s bid prove successful it would see the carrier re-enter the short-haul market, three years after it scrapped its Little Red brand.

“Virgin Atlantic has a trading and codeshare relationship and confirms that it is reviewing its options in respect of Flybe, which range from enhanced commercial arrangements to a possible offer for Flybe,” a spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic said.

Photo Credit: A Flybe aircraft. the airline is looking for a buyer. Transport Pixels / Flickr