Portugal is to sell its national flag carrier TAP to a consortium led by a American-Brazilian businessman. The debt-burdened airline has struggled to find a buyer in a long sales process opposed by several unions.
The government will retain 34% that it can sell in two years. Five percent is being given to staff.
“The Council of Ministers has made an important contribution to the Lisbon hub, in order to consolidate it; in order that all services, with tourism in first place, can benefit from predictability and from conditions of accessibility,” said the Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho announcing the sale.
David Neeleman will now try and turn the airline’s fortunes around.at the head of the Gateway consortium that includes Portuguese bus owner Humberto Pedrosa. Neeleman founded Jet Blue in the USA and runs Azul Brazilian.
TAP’s more than one billion euros of debt is transferred to the new company, with Gateway injecting over 330 million euros of new capital.