A strike by local air transport workers forced carriers on Monday to cancel at least 239 flights at Milan's Linate and Malpensa airports, said the company that manages the airports in the northern Italian city.

Ground workers at airports in Lombardy, the region that includes Milan, began a four-hour strike at 10 a.m. (0800GMT), grounding 185 inbound or outbound national and international flights at Malpensa and 54 at Linate, the SEA company said.

Workers were protesting planned flight cuts at Malpensa by struggling Italian carrier Alitalia.

A few hundred workers also blocked car traffic at Malpensa for about an hour, forcing passengers to reach the terminal on foot, Italian news agency ANSA reported.