Alitalia and Air Malta end partnership deal talks

Alitalia and Air Malta have called off talks aimed at making Alitalia a 49 percent shareholder in Malta's national carrier.

Both airlines in a joint statement Friday said the "current changing landscape in the airline industry was not ideal" for such a move. They said both airlines would concentrate on "current challenges without entering into a partnership."

Air Malta lost 4.2 million euros at the end of the last financial year, down from a 16.9 million-euro loss the previous year. To reduce debt, Air Malta cut back on the food offered on board and eliminated some unprofitable routes. Its current debt totals 66 million euros ($70 million).

Alitalia's unions, meanwhile, are worried that cost-cutting plans could mean job losses.

The two airlines will keep their extensive code-sharing program.