Michael O'Leary tells ECO that the "Portuguese government wants to rescue TAP and pack it up to give it to someone else," pointing to Iberia as a potential buyer.
Ryanair’s CEO believes the Portuguese government will eventually sell TAP to Spanish airline Iberia. In an interview with ECO, Michael O’Leary says that at that point the Government will invest more in Lisbon airport and there will be “more competition, more tourism and growth”.
“The government wants to rescue TAP and pack it up to give it to someone else,” the head of the Irish airline said in an interview with ECO this Wednesday, pointing several times to Iberia as a potential buyer. “Once TAP is sold to Iberia, then the Portuguese government will invest more here,” he added, referring to Lisbon airport.
Iberia has been pointed out as one of the potential companies interested in acquiring TAP, due to the proximity of the hubs, but this could be a deal of little benefit to the country, precisely for this reason, predicts the manager: “When TAP is sold to Iberia or British Airways [which merged], they [new owners] will not want to grow in Lisbon and will want to move traffic from Lisbon to Madrid or Barcelona,” said O’Leary.
In an interview with ECO last December, the infrastructure minister said there were three airlines interested in buying TAP, without revealing which ones. However, Lufthansa, Air France~KLM and Iberia-British Airways have been named as potential buyers. Pedro Nuno Santos noted that these were “three funds and three aviation groups” and that the government considers that “TAP should be integrated into an aviation group”.
In the same interview with ECO on Wednesday, Michael O’Leary once again accused TAP of blocking slots at Lisbon airport and that the government was complicit in this. The Irish airline’s CEO also said that TAP “is asking Brussels” to give Ryanair the 18 slots that TAP has to give up at Lisbon airport.