Portugal to privatize national carrier by end of year

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LISBON, Portugal – The Portuguese government has planned to sell off 49 percent of the country’s flag carrier TAP by the end of this year and there are more than three parties interested in the sale, Portugal’s Economy Minister Antonio Pires de Lima said.

Pires de Lima told the state television RTP that the interested parties include Airline Avianca as well as airlines Air Europa and Azul Airlines.

In 2012 the government failed to complete a privatization of the country’s national airline as only German Efromovich, owner of Colombian flagship airlines Avianca, put forward a proposal to buy the Portuguese airline. The government had cited a lack of bank guarantees as the reason for rejecting Efromovich’s proposal. At the time the local press reported several other airlines were potential candidates for the privatization including Delta Airlines, Virgin, Lufthansa and IAG (British Airway and Iberia) but none of them put forward proposals.

TAP’s privatization was included in the memorandum of understanding Portugal signed with with Troika — the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank — as part of a 78-bln-euro financial bailout signed in 2011.