If Delta's talks with Singapore are part of a wider plan that would include SkyTeam partner Air France/KLM acquiring Richard Branson's 51% stake in the airline he founded, then "the SkyTeam alliance would potentially secure a significant hold in three of the busiest European Airports (London, Paris and Amsterdam), (and be) able to better coordinate capacity to maximize profitability."

McAdoo has a $19 price target on Delta.

Maxim Group analyst Ray Neidl also backed a deal, saying that "these slots are desirable as they provide access to the profitable corporate traffic that flies into Heathrow." A deal would put Delta on an even footing with American and United ( UAL)" at Heathrow, Neidl said. He has a $13 price target on Delta.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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