The Portuguese government says it has filed legal arguments at a court contesting an injunction that halted the privatization of national airline TAP Air Portugal.

Cabinet spokesman Luis Marques Guedes declined to detail the government's arguments but said Thursday that the sale of a 61 percent stake in the flag carrier is in the public interest.

The Supreme Administrative Court granted a civic group the injunction Wednesday, two days before the government intended to start analyzing offers from two Latin American bidders.

The legal wrangle is an unwelcome setback for the government in what has been a troubled privatization process.

The government called off a 2012 attempt to sell the flag carrier after the sole bidder failed to provide necessary financial guarantees.