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WestJet and Onex, a new privatisation trend?

There is always discussion in the aviation industry about taking certain companies private as public firms are increasingly subject to meeting shorter term financial targets to satisfy analysts and investors. 

But it is rare that large airlines opt for privatisation, or are pursued by a private equity firm. That’s why Onex’s plans to acquire Canada’s second largest airline, WestJet, is intriguing on many levels. Although WestJet’s more recent financial results are somewhat lacklustre compared with its historical performance, the airline is far from a distressed company. 

However, Onex’s pursuit of WestJet was no doubt attractive to the airline as the acquisition gives the airline some breathing room to execute on two important strategies to sustain its position and profitability for the long term – the maturation of its ULCC Swoop and the expansion of its long haul network. 

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