Air France-KLM in the race to snap up at least 50% of Portuguese airline TAP
The Portuguese government plans to sell over 50 percent of its national airline TAP’s shares later this year. Air France-KLM and German airline Lufthansa are the main contenders, the newspaper Espresso reported.
Lufthansa already entered into discussions in early 2019 to snap up TAP, but those plans fell through when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Now Air France-KLM is also in the running. Earlier this year, Air France-KLM beat out Lufthansa to get the first right at buying out ITA, the Italian airline formerly known as Alitalia. Whether the French-Dutch airline combination will be two for two remains to be seen.
The Portuguese government previously announced its intentions to privatize at least part of TAP by 2025. Late last year, Pedro Nuno Santos, the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing, told CNN Portugal that TAP cannot survive alone, especially with the pandemic accelerating the process of European airlines merging together.
“We think that TAP has to fit into a larger group than itself. There is no airline, particularly considering the size of TAP, that can survive this highly competitive market on its own,” Santos said to CNN Portugal.
Parliament summoned Santos to explain the government’s position after the Espresso report, which stated that some government members might be pushing for selling TAP completely. He could address parliament on Friday.