Discussions around the sale of a 45 per cent stake in TAP Air Portugal to a European airline, most likely Lufthansa, are currently underway according to local media reports.
Tensions are said to be rising over the financial health and future of the airline between its two key shareholders – the Portuguese government and the founder of Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras, David Neelemen and his Atlantic Gateway consortium.
Atlantic Gateway controls 45 per cent of TAP, the Portuguese state owns 50 per cent, and the remaining 5.0 per cent is in the hands of employees.
On 20 February the carrier reported a EUR 95.6 million net loss during 2019, which follows losses of EUR 111 million posted in November 2019 for the January-to-September period.
Neeleman’s negotiations on the sale of the consortium’s stake to a European airline “are well underway, although they have not yet closed,” Jornal de Negócios reported Marques Mendesa, former leader of the opposition liberal-conservative Social Democratic Party, as saying on 23 February. The European airline is understood to be Lufthansa.
The newspaper says Lufthansa is in partnership in the potential Portuguese acquisition with fellow Star Alliance partner United Airlines. It also says talks were also being held with the Air France-KLM Group and the International Airlines Group (IAG).