Aer Lingus has confirmed that it is in talks with regional airline Aer Arann about franchise arrangements on services between Ireland and Britain.
It is understood that Aer Arann would provide a feeder service on behalf of Aer Lingus from certain British airports into Cork and Dublin.
Passengers would then able to connect with Aer Lingus services to the US or Europe.
The airlines already operate a sharing agreement on the Cork-to-Dublin route.
The paper said that any deal would not involve Aer Lingus's taking an equity stake in its rival.
It is understood the deal would allow Aer Lingus to increase its service between Britain and Ireland, but at a lower cost than using their large A320 aircraft.
It would result in Aer Lingus buying blocks of seats on Aer Arann's smaller aircraft.
Aer Arann operates flights from Ireland to 11 British mainland destinations, plus Belfast and Derry in the North and Jersey in the Channel Islands.
Aer Lingus operates to seven mainland British destinations amost of which are duplicated with those of Aer Arann.
Aer Lingus would not directly comment on the matter, but said a further announcement would be made "as appropriate". More details are expected tomorrow.