British Airways is looking at merger opportunities that could create a trans-Atlantic super-carrier in response to a joint venture between Delta and Air France, the Times said.

The newspaper said on Thursday that aviation sources believed British Airways (BA) was in talks with Michael Bishop, the controlling shareholder of bmi, about buying the British carrier.

It also said that BA was considering a renewed attempt to merge with American Airlines, despite two previous attempts being struck down by competition regulators.

American Airlines is a key partner for us and in the long term we would like a closer relationship with them, a BA spokesman told Reuters in response to the report.

We have never said that we are in talks with bmi, he added.