TORONTO — It was a whirlwind 12 months for airline acquisition news. And it all started with one particularly surprising week in May.
On May 13 WestJet announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement for its acquisition by Onex Corporation for an all-cash deal worth $5 billion.
On May 16, three days later, Air Canada and Transat said they were in negotiations, with the upshot that Air Canada was looking to buy Transat for some $520 million (ultimately boosted to $720 million).
The Air Canada-Transat announcement certainly put an end to any conjecture that Onex might be looking to acquire Transat too, adding Transat’s strengths in the east to WestJet’s in the west.
Canada’s airline industry, relatively calm for many years, was suddenly headline news again as the financial pundits weighed in on both deals.
Meanwhile the travel industry was grappling with the grounding of the Boeing 737-Max 8 aircraft after two fatal crashes, in October 2018 and March 2019. The latest word is that Boeing may temporarily halt production of the troubled aircraft completely.
Amid all that, over the course of 2019 airlines became public enemy number one for climate change concerns.
There’s never a boring day in the travel industry and 2019 proved that more than ever. Check out our year-end coverage of the biggest airline developments in 2019 …
Air Canada & Transat: The industry watches, and waits: the proposed Air Canada-Transat deal
Onex gets its airline: From the first headlines to done deal: WestJet’s acquisition by Onex
737 Max grounding: Boeing and the worldwide grounding of the 737 Max
Airlines & sustainability: IATA, airlines keep the sustainable travel conversation going
And read on for more about Thomas Cook, Hurricane Dorian and new hires in 2019 here.
Plus, watch for even more year-end coverage in Travelweek Daily on Dec. 31st with a fun look at the best oddball stories of the year.