Malaysia’s first ‘halal airline’ grounded by authorities

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Rayani AirMalaysia’s first and only Shariah-compliant airline, Rayani Air, has had its license revoked after a safety audit carried out by authorities turned out negative.

The Malaysian Aviation Commission on June 13 announced that the airline breached the conditions of its license and “lacks the financial and management capacity” to continue operating as a commercial airline.

Rayani Air was launched at the end of last year and took off on December 20, 2015, on its maiden flight from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi where it had its hub. Its unique selling proposition was that it adhered to Islamic law which meant that Muslim flight crew wore the hijab while non-Muslim crew were forbidden from wearing “revealing clothing” on board. Alcohol was forbidden and in-flight meals served were all halal and pork-free.

The airline was founded by Malaysian businessman Ravi Alagendrran and his wife Karthiyani Govindan with two used Boeing 737-400s and originally planned to expand country-wide and, later on, launch flights between Malaysia and China and also haj flights to Jeddah. Its business plan said it wanted to break even in three years and even a stock listing was considered, as well as a cooperation with Royal Brunei Airlines which also brands itself as halal.

Financing came from Malaysian oil and gas company Merdeka Jayabumi Enterprise and mining company Terus Maju Metal.

However, the carrier soon draw increasing criticism from passengers and the government due to last-minute delays and cancellations as pilots went on strike over unpaid salaries. It also had a number of technical issues due to its aircraft’s poor condition. It also has been criticised for using handwritten boarding passes, which poses a security threat to aviation industry.

In April 2016, its operations had been suspended pending an inquiry after it had failed to adhere to aviation regulations.

Besides that, Rayani Air was the target of much mockery whether its self-definition of being a halal airline was accurate. Some argued that its founders were actually Hindu, that the airline also had some non-Muslim staff and flew non-Muslin passengers, used Boeing aircraft whose manufacturing process can certainly not be described as halal and would not be able to prevent passengers from carrying non-halal items such as duty-free booze in their luggage. The two companies financing the airline were also not seen as Shariah-compliant enterprises.

Others noted that the airline’s name bears a striking resemblance to low-cost European carrier Ryanair, although Rayani Air was said to be a mash-up of the founders’ first names – Ravi and Karthiyani.

Ravi Alegandrran said he will appeal to Malaysia’s airline authorities for a “second chance” as he was approaching a “new investor” to revive the airline with a “qualified and strong management team” and resolve problems stemming from its “financial illness.”

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Malaysia’s first and only Shariah-compliant airline, Rayani Air, has had its license revoked after a safety audit carried out by authorities turned out negative.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Rayani AirMalaysia’s first and only Shariah-compliant airline, Rayani Air, has had its license revoked after a safety audit carried out by authorities turned out negative.

The Malaysian Aviation Commission on June 13 announced that the airline breached the conditions of its license and “lacks the financial and management capacity” to continue operating as a commercial airline.

Rayani Air was launched at the end of last year and took off on December 20, 2015, on its maiden flight from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi where it had its hub. Its unique selling proposition was that it adhered to Islamic law which meant that Muslim flight crew wore the hijab while non-Muslim crew were forbidden from wearing “revealing clothing” on board. Alcohol was forbidden and in-flight meals served were all halal and pork-free.

The airline was founded by Malaysian businessman Ravi Alagendrran and his wife Karthiyani Govindan with two used Boeing 737-400s and originally planned to expand country-wide and, later on, launch flights between Malaysia and China and also haj flights to Jeddah. Its business plan said it wanted to break even in three years and even a stock listing was considered, as well as a cooperation with Royal Brunei Airlines which also brands itself as halal.

Financing came from Malaysian oil and gas company Merdeka Jayabumi Enterprise and mining company Terus Maju Metal.

However, the carrier soon draw increasing criticism from passengers and the government due to last-minute delays and cancellations as pilots went on strike over unpaid salaries. It also had a number of technical issues due to its aircraft’s poor condition. It also has been criticised for using handwritten boarding passes, which poses a security threat to aviation industry.

In April 2016, its operations had been suspended pending an inquiry after it had failed to adhere to aviation regulations.

Besides that, Rayani Air was the target of much mockery whether its self-definition of being a halal airline was accurate. Some argued that its founders were actually Hindu, that the airline also had some non-Muslim staff and flew non-Muslin passengers, used Boeing aircraft whose manufacturing process can certainly not be described as halal and would not be able to prevent passengers from carrying non-halal items such as duty-free booze in their luggage. The two companies financing the airline were also not seen as Shariah-compliant enterprises.

Others noted that the airline’s name bears a striking resemblance to low-cost European carrier Ryanair, although Rayani Air was said to be a mash-up of the founders’ first names – Ravi and Karthiyani.

Ravi Alegandrran said he will appeal to Malaysia’s airline authorities for a “second chance” as he was approaching a “new investor” to revive the airline with a “qualified and strong management team” and resolve problems stemming from its “financial illness.”

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