TAP may have to wait a while longer before the government sets out the airline's privatization rules in coming weeks.
The privatization of Portugal’s state-owned airline TAP will take place before October instead of starting in July as the government had originally planned, Infrastructure Minister Joao Galamba said.
In April, the government said that the sale would start in July after two independent advisers established the airline’s value, but state holding company Parpublica only hired Ernst & Young and Portuguese bank Banco Finantia to value it last week.
The government has said it intends to keep a strategic stake in the state carrier, which is currently being restructured under an EU-approved 3.2 billion euro ($3.53 billion) rescue plan.
At least three major global carriers – IAG, Lufthansa and Air France-KLM – have so far shown an interest in the airline.
Speaking at a conference hosted by broadcaster CNN Portugal late on Tuesday, Galamba said that all the conditions of the sale will be set out in a government decree, which will initiate the privatization.
“We are focused on the privatization process, but the approval (by the government) of the decree will not be this month. It will certainly be before October,” he said, without providing further details. TAP carried 7.58 million passengers in the first half of this year, a 30% increase from a year ago but still slightly below pre-pandemic levels even as tourist numbers have already exceeded those seen in 2019.
The airline reported a net loss of 57.4 million euros in the first quarter of this year, a drop of more than 50% from the loss in the previous year, due to increasing passenger numbers. ($1 = 0.9067 euros)
(Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; Editing by Conor Humphries)
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Photo credit: IAG, Lufthansa and Air France-KLM have so far shown an interest in the airline. galenburrows / Flickr