KARACHI: Employees of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) continued protest on second day today (Wednesday), demanding the federal government to withdraw its decision of privatising the national flag carrier.
The head office and other offices in major cities have been closed.
According to PIA’s Joint Action Committee, the protest would continue until the government withdraws its decision and gets the bill passed from the National Assembly.
Employees noted that PIA‘s situation could easily be turned around if an honest management was given its charge.
According to details, Pakistan plans to privatise its national carrier by July, following years of crushing losses and mismanagement that have battered the airline’s reputation.
Once the government approves the sale, the Privatisation Commission will try to sell the struggling airline on the international market.
The government over in December last year converted PIA s state-owned status to a “commercial entity” through an ordinance, but stopped short of announcing its privatisation plans.
That move sparked a fierce backlash among many of PIA s 15,000 employees, who rallied at major airports across the country.
PIA’s cumulative losses were 227 billion rupees ($2.2 billion) as of June 2014.
The government had to inject 12 to 15 billion rupees annually to keep the airline alive and pay employees.
PIA, one of the world s leading airlines until the 1970s, now suffers from frequent cancellations and delays and has been involved in numerous controversies over the years, including the jailing of a drunk pilot in Britain in 2013.
It has also faced problems acquiring security clearances to the European Union for cargo flights.
The airline has also traditionally handed out tens of thousands of free tickets each year, contributing to its losses.
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