Air Malta has outlined plans to downsize its workforce, cut routes and offload its ground handling and cargo operations.

The troubled state-owned carrier has been loss making for much of the last 20 years, with reporting that the airline has racked up combined operating losses of €258 million since 2005.

The airline is waiting for EU confirmation on how much state aid it can receive from the Maltese government, and various media outlets including report that the carrier plans to reduce its workforce from the current 900 employees to around 420, “with workers being offered alternative employment with government”.

The move will save Air Malta around €15 million per year, with other cost-cutting measures including shedding its ground handling operations and dropping some loss making routes.

Malta’s Finance Minister Clyde Caruana is quoted as stating that the restructuring plans are aimed at giving the carrier “a fighting chance”.

The Times of Malta also quotes Air Malta’s executive chairman, David Curmi as stating that the airline would not adopt a low-cost carrier model, and would “continue to offer exceptional service on profitable routes and fly to legacy airports”.