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Portugal’s TAP airline posts record profit before privatisation

TAP Air Portugal earned a record net profit of 180.5 million euros ($192 million) in the third quarter, the airline said Tuesday as the government prepares to re-privatise the firm. The 62.2-percent jump in profits was accompanied by a 12.5-percent rise in revenue to 1.2 billion euros in July through September. Passenger numbers rose by 5.2 percent during the period — the key European summer holiday season — compared to the same time last year. “The third quarter results are encouraging,” said chief executive Luis Rodrigues, adding the airline was implementing measures to boost its rebound following two difficult years. “The considerable rise in revenue” and the “strong trajectory of debt reduction proves the financial strength of the group in a difficult context,” he added. Portugal nationalised TAP as losses mounted during the Covid-19 pandemic, injecting 3.2 billion euros into the airline as part of a restructuring plan agreed with the European Commission. The government recently launched the privatisation of the airline, hoping to return at least 51 percent to the private sector, with major European airline groups Air France-KLM, Lufthansa and IAG (British Airways and Iberia) showing interest. The government is expected soon to release a detailed list of specifications for bidders, which is due to feature commitments like developing Lisbon as a hub for operations, in particular between Europe and Brazil.

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