Acquisition of Portugal’s TAP would allow the International Airlines Group to become leader in routes between Europe and Brazil

11 August 2011

Lisbon, Portugal, 11 Aug – The acquisition of TAP-Air Portugal by the International Airlines Group would give the European group the possibility of becoming the airline with the biggest number of links and market share between Europe and Brazil, a source from the Portuguese airline said in Lisbon.

The Portuguese air carrier currently flies to 65 destinations in 33 countries and tow 10 destinations in Brazil.

The company source was commenting on statements made by the chief executive of the International Airlines Group (IAG), Willie Walsh, to financial news agency Bloomberg according to which the group, which is the result of a merger of British Airways and Spain’s Iberia, is interested in the TAP privatisation.

TAP “is particularly interesting to us because of its flights to Brazil. We want to ensure that we have a string position in what will be the global economy of the future,” Walsh said in Sao Paulo.

Despite considering that, “the timing is not ideal,” for acquisitions, Walsh said that the possibility of buying 100 percent of TAP was a, “once in a lifetime,” opportunity.

The potential acquisition of TAP by IAG would have another consequence: The Portuguese airline would likely no longer be part of the Star Alliance group of airlines, as Iberia and British Airways are part of a similar alliance known as Oneworld.

The IAG currently has a fleet of 403 aircraft, flies to 200 destinations and carries over 55 million passengers per year. (macauhub)