Employees of the state-owned Puerto Rico Ports Authority mounted a protest here Tuesday against Gov. Luis Fortuño's plan to privatize the management of San Juan's Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport.

The authority has deliberately engineered a deterioration of service to create a pretext for putting a private firm in charge of the busiest passenger air terminal in the Caribbean, the president of the Brotherhood of Ports Authority Employees, Astrid Rosario Ortiz, told the media.

She also accused the Ports Authority of squandering money in the award of contracts and of bypassing normal selection processes in hiring for managements positions at the airport.

Ortiz's union called a 24-hour strike in support of the anti-privatization protest.

The Puerto Rican government has chosen two consortiums to submit final bids for the concession operate Luis Muñoz Marin International, which handles more than 500 flights a day.

The government's Public Private Partnerships agency said the winning bidder will be required to make immediate improvements to the airport's infrastructure.

Media outlets have speculated the government will insist on anywhere from $30 million to $80 million in upfront investment by the concessionaire. EFE