Eastern, Union Reach Accord

United Press International

Eastern Airlines and its flight attendants union reached a tentative agreement today on a cost-cutting contract that ended a strike threat and removed another stumbling block to the carrier’s survival.

A union leader said the pact, worked out by a federal mediator in a grueling all-night bargaining session, compared favorably with any in the industry. It headed off a strike threatened for 12:01 a.m. today.

The agreement also was likely to bring Eastern at least a temporary peace with its lender banks, who had threatened to throw the airline into technical default on $2.5 billion in loans if it failed to achieve cost-cutting contracts with its unions by today.

Eastern, which is being taken over by Texas Air, still has not worked out an agreement with the machinists union but major cuts achieved in contracts with the flight attendants and Air Line Pilots Assn. were expected to win at least an extension of the deadline for the carrier.