Trans World Airlines Inc. and its major union representing flight attendants, mechanics and other workers reached a tentative agreement today on a new contract.

The International Association of Machinists said it would cancel the voting on an earlier offer that began a week ago and then present the new contract offer to its members. The union represents 16,000 of TWA's 21,000 employees.

The union said there would be no work stoppages during the month-long ratification process and that it would recommend that members vote "yes" on the new offer.

Bill Compton, chief executive of the St. Louis airline, said TWA "recognizes that our employees need the largest raise we can profitably provide them."

Details of the new pact will be released Tuesday and voting will begin Wednesday.

Television stations in St. Louis reported that the new contract is for 18 months rather than the previous 2 1/2-year offer. TWA spokesman Jim Brown would not comment on the length of the contract, which also covers ramp workers and passenger service personnel.

TWA, which has not had a profit in 10 years, has survived two trips to bankruptcy court in the 1990s, largely because union members have given up salary and other benefits to keep the company afloat. The losses have been reduced in recent years, but TWA still has lost money.

On May 28 TWA presented what it called its "last, best offer," and members began voting on it even though it did not have the union's approval. That deal would have brought TWA workers to 90 percent of the industry standard by 2001.

The airline's previous offer received little support. Union members had also cast ballots on whether to approve limited strikes targeting key flights during the Fourth of July weekend, typically one of the year's busiest weekends for airlines.

Many union employees had expressed anger at the airline over the last proposal, saying they were getting nothing back after years of sacrificing wages.

TWA suffered last year when baggage handlers, mechanics and ramp workers briefly walked off the job, effectively shutting down the airline's hub at Lambert Airport in St. Louis.

The union is seeking payback for years of what the airline acknowledges were subpar wages and cuts in benefits and retirement plans.