Virgin Atlantic has confirmed it has hired Deutsche Bank to assess its business prospects following the start of the British Airways-American Airlines-Iberia joint venture.
A Virgin spokesperson said the merchant bank had been asked "to assess Virgin’s position in the market place, and seek growth opportunities for the airline”.
The study is at a very early stage, said Virgin, which had no comment on the likely outcome.
Last year, Virgin made an operating loss of £132 million.
Virgin has been a vocal opponent of the joint venture, which brings Oneworld members BA, Iberia and AA much closer together.
Virgin has claimed the tie-up gives its rival airlines a competitive advantage at Heathrow.
One move to strengthen Virgin’s position may be to join an alliance, either Skyteam or Star Alliance.
Singapore Airlines, which owns 49% of Virgin, is a Star Alliance member.
Last year Virgin was in talks with Lufthansa to buy the loss-making carrier Bmi, a move which, had it been successful, would have meant significantly more take-off and landing slots at Heathrow for Virgin’s long-haul operations.
Lufthansa has since said it will not sell Bmi, instead looking to restructure the airline. However, some sort of alliance could still be a possibility.