MONTREAL -- Quebec business leader Pierre Karl Péladeau is calling on Ottawa to block the sale of beleaguered Air Transat.

In December, Air Transat shareholders accepted a takeover bid from Air Canada in a deal worth $5 per share or $180 million.

It is an offer the largest shareholder of the tour operator, Letko, Brosseau & Associates – a global investment management company based in Montreal - said is the best deal for the airline.

Co-founder Peter Letko said that since the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a collapse in demand within the airline industry, Air Transat's record is 'much weaker than before' and Air Canada is a 'much stronger' company.

A decision on the deal from Ottawa and the European Union is expected soon, but according to a Globe and Mail report, Péladeau has sent three letters to Transport Minister Marc Garneau asking the federal government to reject the deal.

Instead, Péladeau is offering $6 per share or approximately $233 million.

Under the Air Canada deal, Air Transat shareholders can also opt to receive shares of Canada’s largest airline. Letko argued that this was an interesting part of the arrangement.

Garneau had said he was soon ready to render his decision, which will require cabinet approval. 

- With files from The Canadian Press