Texas International Arlines said yesterday it has offered to raise its cash merger offer for Continental Airlines from $13 to $14 a share.
The new offer, delivered by letter to a special committee of Continental's directors who were meeting in Los Angeles yesterday, was disclosed by Frank Lorenzo, chairman of the executive committee of Texas International, at a meeting here with reporters.
Lorenzo also said that a boycott initiated by the Air Line Pilots Association late last month -- and possibly the airlines' unfriendly takeover battle with Continental -- have begun to hurt passenger traffic on Texas International "very significantly."
In April, the ALPA announced that it had hired Ray Rogers, who led a successful campaign by organized labor against J. P. Stevens Co., to organize a boycott and "corporate campaign" against Texas International, Texas Air Corp., its parent company, and New York Air, another TAC subsidiary, for what ALPA alleged was New York Air's "antiunion" attitude.
"I believe that our record will show that we're anything but antilabor and the so-called comparisons with J.P. Stevens are nothing short of laughable," Lorenzo said. He said TI was fully organized and that the pilots union had not tried to organize New York Air.
The boycott has had no impact on New York Air, Lorenzo said, probably because its passenger business is generally city-to-city and not dependent on other airlines for its connections.
But there has been a decline of "2, 3, 4, 5 percent" in traffic at Texas International, a decline that has been "very heavily interline," Lorenzo said, referring to the connecting business airlines give one another. He particularly singled out Continental's interline traffic to Texas International, which he said had "dropped off rather dramatically." That traffic is down one-third, he said.
Lorenzo said Texas International is studying what actions to take "and studying to see the extent to which other airlines are working in concert with ALPA."
A Continental spokesman said Continental knows nothing about a drop in interline traffic. The company's policy is to treat all interline traffic in a fair and equitable manner, he said.
A spokesman for Continental said TI's new offer would be considered by the committee of directors that is evaluating TI's earlier offer and the employe stock ownership plan.