Three Canadian carriers - Air Canada, Air Transat, and WestJet - have individually declared they will each seek shareholder approval to increase existing caps on foreign ownership and control of its voting shares.

Amendments to the Canada Transportation Act last year removed previous curbs that had limited foreign ownership to no more than 25% of the voting interests of a Canadian air carrier.

That limit has now been increased to 49% although no single non-Canadian entity may hold more than 25% of the voting interest in a Canadian carrier (either individually or in affiliation).

The three carriers said completion of their respective plans is subject to shareholder approval and approval from their regional courts. More details will be disclosed as each operator's AGM nears.

Start-up carrier Canada Jetlines helped foster the move and has already secured investment from Latvian ACMI/charter specialist SmartLynx Airlines ahead of its launch. Likewise Enerjet, which plans to transform itself into an ultra-low-cost-carrier and relaunch towards year-end, has already announced its partnership with US low-cost carrier specialist Indigo Partners.