Suspicions TAP paid more for its planes than competitors

  • Lusa
  • 19 October 2022

The minister of infrastructure explained that the board of TAP had requested an audit because it suspected it was paying more for aircraft than competitor

Portugal’s minister of infrastructure said on Wednesday that the board of TAP had requested an audit because it suspected it was paying more for aircraft than competitors and that the government had forwarded the conclusions to the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

“The board of directors [of TAP], at a certain point, suspected that we were more than what competitors were paying for the planes. […] The board asked for an audit, and that audit was concluded and handed over to the government we, faced with doubts over the conclusions of that audit, referred the audit to the Public Prosecutor’s Office,” the minister for infrastructure and housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, announced during a hearing in parliament, at the request of the PCP and Chega, on the privatisation of TAP, which was followed by a hearing on the signing of public contracts by a company with a stake of more than 10% by the governor’s father, at the request of the PS.

Pedro Nuno Santos also again pointed the finger at the PSD, accusing it of being a “mere protest party” that does not present solutions for not assuming, he said, what it would have done in 2020 when TAP was in difficulties aggravated by the pandemic.

The minister also recalled the privatisation carried out by the PSD/CDS-PP government, partially reversed in 2015, in a deal in which TAP was sold for €10 million to “a shareholder who further indebted the company”.

Incidentally, private shareholder David Neeleman, whose board carried out the renewal of the airline’s fleet of aircraft.

The minister reiterated that “there is no flip-flop” in the government’s position on the privatisation of TAP, as he argued in the debate requested by the PSD, which took place last week.

“The only thing that was always assumed was that we understood that TAP is in an extremely consolidated sector, it should not be left alone, and the best way to ensure viability in the medium and long term is to be integrated into a large aviation group,” he said.