In the past six years, WestJet has created both regional and budget airlines - WestJet Encore and Swoop - and set its sights on long-haul routes with an order for 10 Boeing 787 jetliners set for delivery before 2022, receiving the first one earlier this year.
The Onex bid follows a deal last week where low-priced Latin American airline Viva Air received a $50 million investment from USA capital fund Cartesian Capital Group that it will direct toward expansion.
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The price represents about a 67 per cent premium to the shares, which closed at $18.52 on Friday.
Popatia added that Onex will continue the current employee profit-sharing program that sees a portion of profits distributed twice a year to all 14,000 WestJet employees, on top of an annual bonus.
Even before the global grounding of Boeing's 737 MAX jets in March, WestJet's earnings had slipped as it worked to contain costs as its workforce unionized and was spending money on bold growth plans to expand worldwide travel, introduce first class cabins and launch a budget carrier called Swoop.
Onex made the initial approach in March 2019, with the airline setting up a committee of independent directors to supervise negotiations.
Clive Beddoe, WestJet's founder and chairman, said WestJet will remain committed to its customers the same way it has since its first flight in 1996.
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WestJet shares, which touched a record high of C$34.95 in December 2014, have recently been trading at nearly half that level.
Onex also failed in its effort in 2007 as part of a consortium to buy Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd.
The board say that they have unanimously agreed to the deal, and have recommended shareholders vote for the deal in a special meeting that is to be convened.
Interest in joining Unifor has increased in recent weeks as WestJet imposed arbitrary changes to scheduling and uniforms while it moved to worldwide flights, and announced a zero-per-cent wage increase one day ahead of posting a 33.4-per-cent boost in profits.
George Ferguson, an analyst for Bloomberg, said Onex could help ensure WestJet's future success.
Onex Partners, Onex's private equity platform, will oversee the deal.
The takeover is subject to a number of conditions, including court, shareholder and regulatory approvals.
Taylor, the Canaccord Genuity analyst, said the Onex acquisition would not dramatically alter the competitive landscape. "In our view, a private equity owner of an airline is likely to remain rational with respect to its approach to yields and profitability (versus) market share".