Midlands tycoon Sir Peter Rigby is lining up a dramatic swoop to buy Coventry Airport.

One of the richest men in Britain – with an estimated fortune of £300m – he has financial muscle and a passion for aviation.

Sir Peter has begun detailed talks with Coventry City Council about taking over the business.

The entrepreneur, who already owns the Patriot Aviation Group, has been keeping tabs on the airport’s plight since it closed in December.

The revelation that he is a serious bidder comes just days after Swiss firm Airport Development Partners announced it was pulling out of a deal with the city council, which owns the site.

Sir Peter has been given “exclusive due diligence”, a process which gives him the opportunity to evaluate the airport’s finances prior to signing a contract.

In a statement, Sir Peter, 66, said: “I see Coventry airport as a best kept secret, it has the potential to be a general aviation hub, handling cargo and serving helicopters, light aircraft and business jets.”

Coun Ken Taylor, leader of Coventry City Council, confirmed that talks were taking place with Patriot Aviation and it was hoped the deal will be complete by mid-March.