With the Portuguese government set to issue a 're-privatization' decree in September, the three big airline groups that are interested in buying control of the airline are stepping up their moves. The decree will specify the minimum conditions that any buyer must offer for the airline, which was taken under public control early in the pandemic.
International Airlines Group has been the most talked-about suitor, followed closely by Air France/KLM. Lufthansa has also expressed serious interest, but may be less able to bid while it completes its takeover of Italy's ITA Airways, due to move forward over the next few months once Italy's government finishes formal steps.
Lisbon is looking for, at a minimum, that TAP would continue as a separate operation with its main hub at Lisbon and continue its international routes as well. Both IAG and Air France/KLM have indicated they are prepared for that.
IAG, parent of British Air, Iberia, Vueling and Air Europa, announced several months ago that it had hired financial and legal advisors for what is expected to be a bidding war, and AF/KLM has now also done so.