WestJet is Canada’s second-biggest airline and flies a number of routes to the UK.
The purchaser, Toronto’s Onex Corporation, approached the Calgary-based airline in March, with the proposal unanimously backed by the carrier’s board of directors. The deal includes an unspecified amount of the airline’s debt.
In a statement, the airline’s board said the purchase was “in the best interests of WestJet” and recommended its approval by shareholders when a special meeting is held in July. Approval is a given, as the deal represents a 67% premium to shareholders.
Ed Sims, WestJet’s UK-born president and chief executive officer said: "We are delighted to continue the journey of building an airline based on a growing network, providing competitive airfares and more choice to, from and within Canada, for communities large and small.”
WestJet is currently moving from a budget carrier model to become more of a hybrid airline. It has introduced a business class cabin on a new fleet of Boeing 787s, one of which is now operating on the Gatwick-Calgary service. The WestJet group also includes the ultra-low-cost carrier Swoop, which began flying last summer.