Singapore Airlines, on Monday, said it was in talks to sell its 49 per cent stake in billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic.

The airline said in a statement it was in discussions with “interested parties” about a sale.

A person with knowledge of the possible deal told The Associated Press that Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc was in talks with Singapore Airlines about buying the Virgin Atlantic stake. The person requested anonymity because the talks were ongoing.

Virgin Atlantic is the second-biggest airline at London’s Heathrow airport, behind British Airways and BA is a partner with Delta competitor American Airlines.

Takeoff and landing rights there are limited, a barrier for airlines that want to add flights.

A Delta partnership with Virgin Atlantic on U.S.-London routes would allow it to benefit from Virgin’s established position at Heathrow.

Some 51 per cent of Virgin Atlantic is owned by billionaire Richard Branson, who founded the airline in 1984.

Singapore Airlines bought its stake from Mr. Branson in early 2000 for 603 British pound.

Singapore Airlines said in its statement that the talks may or may not result in a deal.