UPDATE 1-Portuguese government to challenge court's suspension of TAP sale
(Updates with government comment)
LISBON, June 3 (Reuters) - The Portuguese government vowed to press ahead with the sale of airline TAP, despite a court ruling on Wednesday to suspend the privatisation.
The government has set Friday as the deadline for final, binding bids in the sale of a 61 percent controlling stake in flag carrier TAP.
"We have no intention of changing the deadline from Friday for the proposals," transport secretary Sergio Monteiro told journalists.
Earlier on Wednesday, Portugal's supreme administrative court accepted a request for the sale to be suspended on the grounds that the government failed to contract two independent institutions to make an evaluation of the airline before its sale. The action was brought by a citizens' association, which opposes the sale.
Monteiro said the government would request the court to invoke a law stating that the sale is of public interest, which under Portuguese law would overturn the suspension.
The sale is also opposed by some TAP unions and workers.
In May the government picked two Brazil-based aviation tycoons to bid in the final round: American-Brazilian investor David Neeleman, who founded U.S. airline JetBlue, and German Efromovich, who controls Latin America's Avianca. (Reporting By Sergio Goncalves, writing by Axel Bugge; Editing by Susan Fenton)
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