British Airways shows interest in purchasing TAP

Reports in the international press this week claimed that International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG – the group born from the BA/Iberia merger) is preparing an offer to buy TAP.

Algarve Car Hire and TAP Willie Walsh, CEO of the International Consolidated Airlines Group, confirmed that the group is interested in purchasing the Portuguese airline.

“We are particularly interested in TAP because it is a strong company within the Brazilian market” he said in statements to the press, adding: “TAP is number one for travel between Europe and Brazil.”

In response to these comments, TAP said that the privatisation process is not yet open.

An official spokesperson for the company told Agência Financeira that “only after the process is opened and the respective terms established will the company address any show of interest.”

Mr. Walsh made it clear that IAG has not yet embarked on negotiations nor are investment analyses being carried out.

The government was forced to privatise TAP as a condition of the €78 billion bailout package from the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

As well as British Airways, German flag carrier Lufthansa, Latam, and the TAM/LAN alliance have all expressed interest in the Portuguese airline.

Meanwhile, TAP recently announced that last month it smashed all previous passenger figures and set a new record. In July this year the airline exceeded, for the first time ever, the million-passenger mark, having carried 1,025,923 passengers that month alone.

This easily beat its previous record set in August 2010 of 998,634 transported passengers.

Over the first seven months of this year TAP registered a passenger growth of 11.6 percent and also noted an improvement in its flights occupation rates, having increased from 72.6 percent to 76.1 percent.

An airline spokesperson said the figures were largely due to a “general growth” of the business, but could also be attributed to “improvements within commercial activities and the company’s new destinations.”

Recently launched destinations within Europe include Manchester, Dusseldorf, Athens, Vienna, Dubrovnik and Bordeaux, as well as Porto Alegre (Brazil), Miami (USA), and Bamako, Accra and S. Vicente (in Africa).

In related news, earlier this week the Minister for Economy Álvaro Santos Pereira stressed that TAP’s hub must remain in Lisbon, and he said that everything would be done to ensure it does.

His comments were made after questions were raised in Parliament regarding TAP’s privatisation.


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