Malaysia’s First Islamic Airline No Longer Allowed to Fly

By Jim Liao, Epoch Times
June 14, 2016 12:19 pm Last Updated: June 14, 2016 7:24 pm

Malaysia-based airline Rayani Air is grounded due to concerns about safety and inadequate management, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) announced on Monday.

Rayani air was Malaysia’s first Sharia-compliant airline, meaning it follows Islamic law and day-to-day customs. While on board, only halal food was offered, no alcohol was served, and flight crew wore hijabs—while non-Muslim staff and crew were required to wear modest clothing.

However, Rayani Air had been facing criticism from passengers over severe delays and cancelled flights. In addition, pilots of the carrier were striking to protest unpaid wages.

The issues precipitated a 3-month suspension of the airline, during which a safety audit was conducted. And on Monday, the airline’s certification was revoked, according to Albawaba.

The airline, which operated two Boeing 737-400s, started operations last December. Based on the island of Langkai, Rayani had been flying to Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, as well as the northern city Kota Bahru. 

Mavcom said in a statement on Monday that the airline “had breached the conditions of its Air Service Licence (ASL) and lacks the financial and management capacity to continue operating as a commercial airline.”

Ravi Alegandrran, owner of Rayani Air, said the airline plans to appeal the MAVCOM decision, citing that the airline was in talks with a new investor and promised a new “qualified and strong” management team that would manage the airline better.

“The revocations came at the peak of our negotiations with investors for the acquisition of equity in Rayani Air, after realizing that the present owners and their management are no longer fit to revive the airline,” Alegandrran said on Monday, according to AsiaOne.