TAP plays down talk of merger with TAM

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Senior TAP Portugal representatives are insisting that there are no immediate plans for a merger with Brazilian operator TAM, despite TAP chief Fernando Pinto's apparent support for the idea.

Pinto has been widely cited as describing a merger between the two Star Alliance carriers as a "good idea" during a recent seminar in Lisbon. Pinto, a Brazilian, served as Varig's chief before his appointment to TAP in 2000.

But TAP vice-president, commercial, Luiz Mor said during a public address at a Brazilian travel agency association event in Rio de Janeiro, that there was "nothing concrete" about a potential merger between the airlines.

Mor makes clear that while TAP and TAM are entering a new level of partnership in their mutual relations, there are no firm merger proposals on the table.