Air France-KLM stayed out of the takeover of ITA Airways; the Franco-Dutch group therefore hopes to conquer TAP Air Portugal. Politics has its secrets and it is always possible that the French will remain isolated…
Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday welcomed the possibility for Lufthansa to remain with TAP Air Portugal, after the privatization process, and stressed that both airlines have strategies “ complementary”. However, the head of the Portuguese government has warned that all those interested in the Portuguese airline “start on an equal footing” in this process, which will start “soon” and will be “transparent”.
“Lufthansa is welcome, it’s a big airline
It has a very complementary strategy with the TAP hub,” Costa said at a press conference in Lisbon after receiving his German counterpart.
But it will be the negotiation process that will determine who wins the privatization, insisted Costa, who also stressed that Lufthansa’s interest in TAP Air Portugal is not recent: “Before the crisis generated by the Covid-19 pandemic , it had already negotiated with the then private shareholder to acquire its position,” he recalled.
The Germans see it as a complementarity
At his side, Scholz acknowledged that there was a “complementarity” between the two companies and that it could work well. “I think they are complementary, but we will see the result,” he said.
TAP Air Portugal is owned by the Portuguese state, which currently controls 100% of its capital, having nationalized it again to save it from the impact suffered by the pandemic. The airline is under a restructuring plan
Portugal’s socialist government wants to maintain a “strategic” position in the TAP, although it has not disclosed to what extent. However, the Lufthansa Group has stated on other occasions that it is opposed to state participation in its companies, such as when it entered into negotiations with the Italian government for Alitalia, which categorically refused that the Italian State remains shareholder via the railways. Ferrovie dello Stato, although with successor Ita Airways it has agreed to opt, for the time being, for a 40% stake.