TAP Portugal sale approved by competition authority

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TAP Portugal Airbus 319

The sale of TAP Portugal to a consortium has been approved by Portugal’s competition authority.

The Atlantic Gateway consortium is led by American-Brazilian aviation tycoon David Neeleman. It is also made up of Portuguese bus company owner Humberto Pedrosa. Neeleman is chief executive of Brazil’s Azul and is also the founder of JetBlue.

The consortium won the privatisation tender in June with a €10 million euro ($11.3 million) cash payment and a promise to injection 338 million euros in capital. It will take on TAP’s debt reported to be about one billion euros.

“The competition authority decided not to oppose the operation, considering that it does not create any significant obstacles to competition in the relevant markets,” the authority said in a statement.

The authority said none of the members of the consortium operate the same routes as TAP, and there is no risk of elimination of competition on TAP’s 11 routes to Brazil.