Canadian airline WestJet has been acquired by the Toronto-based private equity firm Onex Corporation for C$5billion (approximately £2.9 billion).

A special committee formed by the WestJet board of directors unanimously recommended the shareholders voted in favour of the transaction, following an approach by Onex in March.

The committee determined that the transaction was in the “best interest of WestJet”.

Ed Sims, WestJet’s president and chief executive, 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. Integral to this relationship is a commitment to our employees, and our unique ownership-driven culture.”

All of WestJet’s outstanding shares were acquired for C$31 per share, and the total transaction included assumed debt, the amount of which is not disclosed.