‘Competition always good’ – TAP CEO

  • Lusa
  • 12 October 2022

Christine Ourmières-Widener said that TAP had assets that are "attracting a number of industry players" and listed the reasons for the company's attractiveness.

The CEO of TAP, Christine Ourmières-Widener, said on Wednesday that competition is “always good” but denied knowing anything “specific” about a possible interest of a North American investment fund in entering the company’s capital.

“I don’t know anything specific on that subject. The only thing I can say is that TAP is an attractive company,” said the chairwoman of the TAP executive committee, speaking to journalists in Ponte de Sor (Portalegre).

On the sidelines of the 6th Portugal Air Summit, which began today at the Ponte de Sor Municipal Aerodrome, Christine Ourmières-Widener considered that, given this attractiveness, “if there are American funds interested [then] it is good news. Competition is always good”.

The executive chairwoman of TAP, questioned by journalists, was reacting to today’s report in the Público newspaper, which said that a US fund wants to enter the capital of the Portuguese airline.

According to Público, “the North American investment fund Certares, which owns 40% of Douro Azul, Mário Ferreira’s cruise company, is interested in acquiring a stake in TAP and has expressed its interest to the Portuguese government.

However, António Costa’s government is “not keen on doing business with an isolated fund”, the paper added, citing a source with knowledge of the negotiations.

The government’s strategy regarding the privatisation process of the Portuguese airline will be to “give priority to competitors” of TAP, or other European airlines, according to the newspaper.

Christine Ourmières-Widener said that TAP had assets that are “attracting a number of industry players” and listed the reasons for the company’s attractiveness.

“We are very strong in markets that are quite significant for the industry, we have one of the youngest fleets in Europe, our geographical location is also quite attractive,” she said, also including in these assets capable of arousing interest in privatisation “the professionalism” of the team.

However, she stressed, when asked if she was in favour of the company’s privatisation, that the most important thing was to create “a situation in which TAP can be sustainable”.

“I think it is a matter of finding the right partners, of also finding the right conditions for the country and for the hub, those that are important for the country, at a strategic level, and that will be defined by the government,” she said.

The 6th edition of the Portugal Air Summit has a “special focus” on investment opportunities available in the sector, according to the promoters of the event, the municipality of Ponte de Sor and the company The Race.