The privatisation of regional carrier Azores Airlines will begin in January following the corporate restructuring of parent company SATA Air Açores in early December, the Azores government has confirmed.

Azores Airlines, previously known as SATA Internacional, is a Portuguese airline based in the municipality of Ponta Delgada on the island of São Miguel.

A subsidiary of SATA Air Açores, the airline operates as the international arm of the regional network, connecting the archipelago with Europe and North America, from its hub at João Paulo II Airport.

The divestment of a 51% controlling stake in Azores Airlines featured in the airline restructuring plan approved in June by the European Commission which allowed Portuguese state aid to support restructuring with €453 million in loans and state guarantees.

SATA has struggled since at least 2014 when the airline, wholly owned by the Azores regional government, began to record losses, which worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In June 2020, the Azores Government announced it was abandoning the second attempt to privatize Azores Airlines after a first tender was cancelled in November 2018. In June this year, the regional government president confirmed that the European Commission had placed a requirement on privatizing up to 51% of Azores Airlines’ share capital.

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