“We're expecting it to be a success," the secretary of state for infrastructure, Guilherme W. d’Oliveira Martins, said, noting that “there are no maximum limits per worker” in terms of applications for shares.

The secretary of state added that TAP is to compile a list of the workers who fulfil the requirements to buy shares as part of the operation and that the securities markets authority, the CMVM "will issue in the coming days a document with information about the operation”.

D'Oliveira Martins explained that, starting from the release of this document “a deadline of 20 working days, in other words, four weeks, will be given" for eligible investors to apply.

“The 20 days are more than sufficient for the workers to decide whether they want to buy the TAP shares," he said.

The price of the shares on offer - which represents 5% of TAP's share capital - is at a discount of about 5% on the price at which the Atlantic Gateway consortium bought its shares in late 2014, at €10.93 each. Under the new model for TAP's privatisation agreed with the current government, which took office in November 2014, the consortium will have 45% of TAP but also the opportunity to increase that if workers who end up with shares in the company see fit to sell their shares to it.

Approval for the whole operation, which is to enable the state to retain a 50% stake in TAP, is still awaited from the National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC).