updated 2/19/2008 3:03:50 PM ET 2008-02-19T20:03:50

Around 150 flights were canceled Tuesday at Milan's two main airports because workers staged a four-hour strike, officials said.

The company that manages the airports in the northern Italian city said that 102 flights were canceled at the Malpensa hub and 44 at the Linate airport.

Airport workers were protesting plans by Alitalia to cut traffic at Malpensa, part of the state airline's strategy to turn around its troubled finances. The plan is backed by Air France-KLM, which is in exclusive talks to take over Alitalia and has said it would significantly scale down Malpensa.

But officials in the Lombardy region, which includes Milan, as well as some national parties have mounted a fierce protest against any Malpensa downsizing. They hope they can scrap or put on hold the plan given the collapse of Romano Prodi's center-left government, which had picked Air France-KLM as Alitalia's potential buyer, and pending general elections in two months.

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