“We would love to buy TAP, but we wouldn’t be allowed”, says Ryanair CEO

Written By Lara Silva

In an interview with ECO, the CEO of Ryanair, Michael O’Leary, said that he would love to buy TAP, although he believes it is “worthless.” He says the Portuguese government’s best shot is to sell it to the IAG Group with the compromise that it will increase traffic by 50% in the next five years. 

“I would love to buy TAP, but we wouldn’t be allowed… The problem is that we are blocked because we are the largest airline in Portugal, and TAP is second. If we joined both companies, we would have the Germans, the French, and the British saying we could not do this and that we had a monopoly.”

The CEO goes on to say to criticize the 2 million euro bonus that will be granted to the TAP CEO once the restoration plan is completed, saying the value is too high. 

If he could purchase TAP, O’Leary said the first things he would do would be “reducing costs and increasing the number of flights.”

In his criticism of TAP, he said that the airline is not worth much. “It only survives because it received 3.2 billion from the government that must be returned. And it won’t be able to do that… TAP is not a well-managed airline.”
When asked how much he would pay for TAP if he could, Michael O’Leary says that “the issue is not how much the government can sell TAP for, but whether the government can find a partner for TAP.”

TAP Air Portugal is a Portuguese state-owned airline that was renationalized in 2016. The Portuguese government announced in September 2022 that it has plans to reprivatize TAP and conclude its sale in 2023.

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