Eastern Airlines, trying to avoid new layoffs, will transfer workers and sharply limit hiring this summer, officials of the financially pressed carrier say.

The Miami-based airline Wednesday cut 29 flights from its southern hub in Atlanta, part of its ongoing efforts to cut costs. Eastern lost $258 million last year.Meanwhile, Eastern this week began stepped-up negotiations under federal mediation with its largest union, the International Association of Machinists, and a spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association said that union is preparing contract proposals for proposed talks on amending its contract.

Over the past two years, Eastern's work force has been cut by nearly 10,000 to 32,000, but company officials said the 50 airport workers in Atlanta affected by the curtailing of routes will be moved to other jobs.

Summer replacement hirings will be limited to non-unio9n positions in the reservations or clerical fields, Eastern said.

Spokeswoman Paula Musto said people laid off earlier may be recalled to fill in during the summer season.

The Machinists, representing 12,000 mechanics and other ground workers, have resisted management calls for sharp cuts in the salaries of non-mechanics.

Eastern President Phil Bakes last year said the company needed to cut labor costs by some 30 percent overall.

Pilots' spokesman Ron Cole said his union, whose contract can be amended on July 1, won't be offering major concessions.