While neighbouring Spain has temporarily abandoned its attempt to privatise its two largest airports, Portugal's Government has selected four investment banks to oversee the privatisation of state airline TAP Portugal and the airport operator Aeroportos de Portugal SA (ANA).
The privatisation of the former will impact the latter, as potential bidders for TAP could, post-acquisition, look to partially disband the carrier's Portugese hubs in favour of concentrated operations at, say, Madrid, if International Airlines Group (IAG) bids and is successful. TAP's prime asset is its network into Brazil. Owing to TAP's position in effectively the last major European cities before reaching the Atlantic, TAP can conveniently collect traffic from across Europe to feed its Brazil (and increasingly African) flights. Madrid is not much further inland and would offer the same hub benefits as well as allow Iberia and TAP to consolidate their under-performing short-haul networks. Moving large amounts of TAP traffic out of Portugal is a dent in ANA's appeal.
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