Billionaire Donald Trump says a federal judge's refusal to block his purchase of Eastern Airlines' Northeastern air shuttle means he can begin service in February on what will be "the best airline there is."

But union leaders, disappointed by Monday's court ruling, said they would appeal the decision and vowed to carry on their struggle against the management of beleaguered Eastern.U.S. District Judge Barrington D. Parker ruled Monday that the $365 million cash deal could proceed.

In so doing, he rejected union arguments that Eastern's parent company, Texas Air Corp., wanted to shed the profitable shuttle in its continuing effort to break Eastern's unions by dismantling the airline and eventually reconstituting it as a non-union company.