Major airports all over Pakistan remained largely closed on Wednesday as the employees of the national carrier, Pakistan International Airlines, protested a deal being signed by the management with Turkish Airlines. Several PIA flights - including the Lahore-Delhi flight, were cancelled as PIA employees forcibly stopped pilots and air crew from assuming their duties.
Scuffles were seen in airport lounges as pilots were prevented from entering terminal buildings by rowdy staff who said that the deal with Turkish Airlines would take away a lucrative chunk of PIA's business, which in turn would lead to loss of jobs. Several thousand passengers were seen sitting in airport lounges as the strike, which started on Tuesday, gained momentum.
The Defence Ministry has barred the protesters from entering airports across the country. The centre of the storm is a proposed commercial arrangement with Turkish Airlines which has been contracted to take PIA passengers from Turkey onwards to destinations in Europe and the US.