EasyJet is reported to have held talks with regional carrier Flybe about buying some of its take-off and landing slots at Gatwick.
Flybe, which has posted several profit warnings in recent years, could raise up to £20 million from disposing of its 25 slot pairs.
EasyJet and Flybe originally declined to comment on the talks, which were reported by the Sunday Times.
A deal would give easyJet a way to expand quickly at London’s second airport and hand Flybe a much-needed injection of cash, according to the newspaper.
It is thought Flybe is also in talks with other airlines about the Gatwick slots.
Andrew Lobbenberg, an analyst at HSBC, said in a research note: “We can imagine multiple structures for Flybe to monetise these scarce resources.”
Meanwhile, easyJet is expected to post reduced half-year losses on Wednesday as its bid to attract more business passengers and an earlier Easter break pay off.
Analysts have forecast a loss of around £60 million for the six months to the end of March, an improvement on the losses of £112 million in the same period last year.
Flybe issued a statement to the London stock exchange this morning saying: “Flybe notes the recent speculation in the press.
“The board announces that it is in discussions with a number of parties which may or may not lead to a transaction regarding the exchange for compensation payment of the arrival and departure slots at Gatwick airport.
“Discussions are ongoing and there can be no certainty as to whether any transaction will be forthcoming. A further announcement will be made as soon as appropriate.”
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