Gatwick Airport has been put up for sale by its owner, BAA.
The decision follows the publication of provisional findings by the Competition Commission (CC) stating that the firm may be required to sell up to three of its UK airports.
Yet although BAA has stated that it is keen to secure the "earliest resolution possible", it has also been suggested that it had been reluctant to put Gatwick Airport up for sale.
Colin Matthews, BAA chief executive, commented: "Gatwick has long been an important and valuable part of BAA and the decision to sell was not taken lightly.
"We believe that the airport's customers, staff and business will benefit from the earliest possible resolution of current uncertainty."
Virgin Atlantic's chief executive Steve Ridgeway has been quick to assert the company's interest in being involved in a purchase.
He said that the carrier would "relish the opportunity to bid for Gatwick as part of a consortium and inject our customer service expertise into any future running of the airport".
The airline had been among those critical of BAA after the CC's provisional findings were published last month.
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