Air Canada has closed its acquisition of the Aeroplan frequent flier programme, paying C$497 million ($376 million) to purchase the plan from marketing and analytics company Aimia.

The move, which had been in the works for months, brings Air Canada closer to its goal of launching a new in-house loyalty plan in 2020.

Under the deal, the Montreal-based carrier acquired Aimia affiliate Aimia Canada, which operates Aeroplan.

Air Canada formed Aeroplan in 1984 and sold it to Aimia's corporate predecessor in 2008.

In the last year, however, Air Canada talked of forming and operating a new loyalty programme to replace Aeroplan as a means to gain better control over relationships with customers, the airline's executives said.

As part of that plan, Air Canada set to acquire the existing plan from Aimia, first offering in July 2018 to pay C$250 million. Air Canada ended up paying nearly double.

The acquisition marks "a major step forward on this transformational initiative', says Air Canada chief executive Calin Rovinescu in a media release. "Air Canada is creating an industry-leading loyalty programme that aims to provide unmatched flexibility, choice and convenience."

Source: Cirium Dashboard