SAirGroup has withdrawn from the TAP Air Portugal privatisation process as it continues to review its alliance strategy in the wake of chief executive Philippe Bruggisser's dramatic departure from the Swiss company.

It had been negotiating with Lisbon on an exclusive basis for a substantial minority stake in the state-owned Portuguese flag-carrier, which is a member of the Swissair-led Qualiflyer Group alliance. SAir says TAP will remain a member of Qualiflyer and that "commercial co-operation" between the pair will continue.

Meanwhile, SAir says it will "guarantee TAP's short-term financial needs" to "ensure that TAP's restructuring process continues successfully". The guarantee will "count against any eventual obligations resulting from the SAir's withdrawal from the privatisation process", it adds.

Source: Flight International