Privatization of TAP Air Portugal remains in suspense amid the departure of Prime Minister

The process of selling the equity control in the state-owned airline may only be decided from March 2024, after new elections

The privatization of the carrier TAP Air Portugal entered an impasse after the departure of the government of Prime Minister António Costa on November 7th.

Costa decided to leave the current administration after being the target of a police operation investigating corruption in his administration.

Without a definitive occupant for the position, the Portuguese government will only resume the process from March 2024, when new legislative elections will take place.

The privatization of TAP has been in the works for months and was approved in October. The plan was for the sale notice to be ready between December and the beginning of 2024, when the conditions for the sale of at least 51% of the company’s shares would be clarified.

The political crisis also postponed the definition of a new international airport for Lisbon.

TAP A330-900neo (Gustavo H. Braga)

TAP had been transferred to the private sector in 2015, when a consortium formed by a Portuguese businessman and David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue, Azul and Breeze, purchased 61% of its shares.

However, the Portuguese government decided to renationalize the airline around two years ago. TAP then received financial resources from the European Union to overcome the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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This time, the Portuguese government intends for the new owners of TAP to commit to transforming Lisbon into a hub and also expanding flights at secondary airports in the country.

Possible interested parties include Air France-KLM, IAG and Lufthansa.


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