Middle East airline Qatar Airways laid off about 200 Filipino staff in Doha this week and rival Emirates asked pilots to take unpaid leave as the coronavirus outbreak hammers demand for travel.
The state-owned airlines have had to slash dozens of flights, which are crucial for their Gulf hubs that millions of passengers pass through each year.
Philippine Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello told Reuters on Wednesday that the government was trying to ascertain the “real cause” behind the unexpected decision to lay off the workers.
Qatar Airways did not respond to an emailed request for comment.
The layoffs were reported earlier by ABS-CBN. It said the Filipino employees, including engineers and maintenance staff, were laid off on Tuesday and others had also lost their jobs.
State-owned Qatar Airways had warned it would report its third consecutive loss this financial year, which ends this month, before the outbreak battered global travel demand.
Dubai’s Emirates has joined other airlines around world in asking pilots to take unpaid leave.