By Joanna Plucinska and Tim Hepher
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Lufthansa’s Chief Executive Carsten Spohr said on Sunday it was too soon to discuss the German airline group’s potential interest in taking over Portugal’s TAP as the Portuguese government is still debating the privatisation process.
Portugal wants to keep a strategic stake in state-owned airline TAP and will not offer all its capital in the upcoming privatisation, the country’s secretary of state for finance, Joao Nuno Mendes, said.
“There’s still discussion in Portugal how that privatisation will take place and it’s not supposed to be 100 percent privatisation,” Spohr told journalists at the annual meeting of the International Air Transport Association in Istanbul.
At least three major global carriers, Lufthansa, Air France-KLM and British Airways-owner IAG, have shown an interest.
Lufthansa said last month that it was taking a 41% stake in Italian carrier ITA Airways in the latest major consolidation in the aviation sector in Europe.
Spohr noted that the deal was still contingent on the European Commission’s approval, but said that once it was signed off, ITA Airways would be incorporated into the Lufthansa group’s global sales contracts to help it grow its revenue.
He added that a number of planes were still grounded due to supply chain issues – at least 10 across the group – and that initial deliveries of the Boeing 777X were expected in early 2025.
“Boeing are saying it’s delivery in late 24 or early 25 – which means it’s early ’25,” Spohr said.
Photo: Lufthansa’s Chief Executive Carsten Spohr. Lufthansa