Integrating national flag carrier TAP into a major aviation group could be the only way to keep the company viable and resilient to the volatility of the aviation industry, Infrastructure Minister Pedro Nuno Santos said Thursday.

Santos took part in a parliamentary debate on Thursday on the privatization of TAP, requested by the Social Democratic Party PSD.

“It has always been clear to us [government] that, in such a highly globalized and competitive market, TAP could not survive, in the medium term, alone,” Nuno Santos told lawmakers Thursday.

“Integrating TAP into a group would create significant synergies and provide resilience in the face of the volatility so characteristic of aviation. It may even be the only way to ensure the viability of a strategic company for the country,” he added.

The minister criticized the sale of 10 million euros of TAP, under the previous government of Pedro Passos Coelho, but said that the state assumed “responsibility for all debts before privatization, and also for the future, in the event of default by the new owner of the company”.

The Minister also assured that with this government, the privatization of TAP should ensure that the company is more competitive and sustainable and that it allows the expansion of the Lisbon hub, which he described as “the largest asset of the national aviation”. ”

Santos also accused the PSD of continuing to be “unable to take a clear position” regarding the intervention in TAP without saying its solution to resolve the emergency that TAP has faced during the pandemic.

At the opening of the parliamentary debate, the Social Democrat deputy Paulo Moniz accused the government of being responsible for having reversed the privatization of TAP, which he now intends to sell to the private sector.

“It has forced all Portuguese people to be debtors for all the losses, money that the country does not have, and which we will miss in these times of uncertainty,” he said, criticizing the government for rushed to make a sale within 12 months. “without ever having the humility to assume it was completely wrong.”

(Maria João Pereira | Lusa.pt)