Western Union in 1981 acquired about a 50% share in Airfone Inc., which operates an air-to-ground telephone system used in commercial aircraft. Under the sales agreement, GTE will acquire the stake for about $39 million. Western Union said it decided to sell because "our strategic plan for returning Western Union to profitability requires that we concentrate our efforts on our core telecommunications and information businesses." GTE said it also is buying the Airfone stock held by A.F. Holdings, headed by John D. Goeken, who developed the phone service.