Flybe has played down speculation about a possible deal with Ryanair to take over some of its routes but confirmed that talks are ongoing.
It is understood that in an effort to allay competition concerns relating to its bid for Aer Lingus, Ryanair is exploring options for transferring some aircraft and scheduled services in and out of Ireland to other operators.
As part of a turnaround plan unveiled yesterday, Flybe aims to increase the amount of outsourced work – including contract flying – it does for other airlines.
In a statement to the stock exchange, the Exeter-based company said: "Flybe confirms that it is in discussion with Ryanair about the possible transfer of a number of aircraft and operating routes as part of a package of concessions Ryanair has submitted to the European Commission.
"These discussions, however, are non-binding and non-exclusive. Additionally, the discussions are also highly conditional given the status of Ryanair's offer, the uncertainty of the outcome of the Commission's deliberations and the expected lead times around any implementation of the proposed remedies."