Ontario's Superior Court has timetabled a hearing for 22 September on the Onex investment group's planned hostile take-over of Air Canada.

Onex, which aims to merge Air Canada with troubled Canadian Airlines, will ask the courts to force the flag carrier to hold a shareholders' vote on its bid on 8 November - before the expiry both of its offer and of a 90-day government suspension of competition legislation, aimed at allowing the two to restructure.

Air Canada plans to put the issue to shareholders on 7 January, fuelling speculation that it is buying time to agree a rival deal with Star Alliance partners Lufthansa and United Airlines. Onex, backed by oneworld leader American Airlines, is thought to be actively buying up Air Canada stock, although the latter has introduced a "poison pill" one-for-one share offer to counter such a move.

Source: Flight International