NEW YORK — During a turbulent meeting interrupted by union members opposing the acquisition of Eastern Airlines by the Texas Air holding company, Eastern shareholders on Tuesday approved the merger, the last step needed before the deal is completed.
The combination with Eastern will make Texas Air, which also owns Continental Airlines and New York Air, the nation's second-largest airline company, as measured by passengers carried and by revenue. However, Texas Air is also in the process of acquiring People Express and, once that deal is completed, it will be bigger than United Airlines, now the largest air carrier in the Western world.
Tuesday's special meeting took place the day after a U.S. district judge in Miami refused to postpone the session as requested by a coalition of Eastern's labor unions, which had offered to buy the financially ailing airline for $11.50 a share, more than the price offered by Texas Air.
In their court filing, the pilots, machinists and flight attendants unions said that company directors had acted too hastily in accepting Texas Air's merger offer and that the price of $10 a share amounted to a "fire sale." Eastern responded by calling the lawsuit "an ill-timed, ill-conceived effort to disrupt the transaction."