The privatisation process for Portugal's state-owned airline, TAP, will take months and should only be concluded next year, Finance Minister Fernando Medina said on Friday 14 July.
The government said on Wednesday 12 July the sale process would kick off by October, instead of starting in July as initially planned.
Medina said "the government will seek to approve the privatisation as quickly as possible, but it is legally dependent on two independent advisers establishing the airline's value".
State holding company Parpublica only hired Ernst & Young and Portugal's Banco Finantia to evaluate it last week.
"It is a large-scale transaction according to national and even international standards... the privatisation process will take some months and will not be concluded during 2023," Medina told reporters.
The government has said it intends to keep a strategic stake in the state carrier, which is currently being restructured under an EU-approved €3.2 billion rescue plan.
TAP carried 7.58 million passengers in the first half of this year, a 30% increase from a year ago but still slightly below pre-pandemic levels even as tourist numbers have already exceeded those seen in 2019.
The airline reported a net loss of €57.4 million in the first quarter of this year, a drop of more than 50% from the loss in the previous year, thanks to increasing passenger numbers.
Read More: Privatisation Of Portugal's TAP Delayed