A federal appeals court on Friday upheld Eastern Airlines' layoff of more than 3,000 employees when the financially troubled carrier eliminated service to 14 cities to stem continuing losses.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said there was insufficient evidence to support contentions of three unions that the layoffs were part of an illegal campaign to weaken the power of organized labor at Eastern.The unions "have directed our attention to nothing that would undermine Eastern's claim that legitimate business concerns provide an ample reason for these reductions," the court said in an opinion by Judge Stephen Williams.