KARACHI: Employees protest against the privatization of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) entered fourth day today.

The administrative affairs were disrupted due to the lockdown of offices and sit-in staged outside the head office. The employees took out a protest rally from head office to airport which was attended by a large number of female workers.

Participants of the rally also demonstrated at the entrance gate of the airport, as a result of which the route coming to airport was shut down. Long queue of vehicles was also seen whereas the passengers had to travel a distance of 1.5 kilometers on foot along with their children and heavy luggage to reach the airport.

On the other hand, negotiations are underway between government representatives and authorities of Collective Bargaining Agent (CBA) Air League in Islamabad.

The employees are of the view that no condition will be accepted other than the return of approved bill in assembly regarding the elimination of privatization and making the department public limited.

Pakistan plans to privatize its national carrier by July, following years of crushing losses and mismanagement that have battered the airline’s reputation.

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 privatization 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.