Malaysia's first Islamic-compliant airline barred from flying

Officials say 'safety and security of the aviation industry is of paramount importance'

Emma Henderson
Tuesday 14 June 2016 13:54 BST
Comments
The Department of Civil Aviation revoked the airline's certificate following concerns over safety, administration and financial capacity
The Department of Civil Aviation revoked the airline's certificate following concerns over safety, administration and financial capacity (Creative Commons)

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

Malaysia has barred the country's first Islamic-compliant airline from flying for breaching aviation regulations.

The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) said it revoked Rayani Air’s operation certificate, stopping it from flying as a commercial airline, over concerns of its safety and administration. The decision followed an investigation launched in April which led to a three-month suspension.

The airline, which operated two Boeing 737-400s, launched in December and only served halal food on board and did not serve alcohol. Muslim flight crew wore the hijab and non-Muslim members of staff were required to wear modest clothing.

Rayani Air was based in Langkawi and flew to the county’s capital Kuala Lumpur and to the northern city of Kota Bahru. It had planned to schedule flights to Mecca for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages.

But passengers had criticised Rayani Air over severe delays and last-minute cancellations which led to the investigation. Pilots of the carrier also went on strike during April over unpaid wages.

The DCA said the airline lacked financial and management capacity to continue operating as a commercial airline.

DCA director-general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said the government took the step to cease Rayani’s operations because “safety and security of the aviation industry is of paramount importance”.

Rayani Air founder, Ravi Alagendrran said: “The revocations came at the peak of our negotiations with investors for the acquisition of equity in Rayani Air on realisation that the present owners and their management are no longer fit to revive the airline.”

He added the “qualified and strong management team” of its new investors would revive and manage the airline “much better than us”.

The decision comes after two Malaysian Airlines disasters in 2014 after the Beijing bound flight MH370 is believed to have disappeared in March with all 239 passengers and 12 crew. Flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board.

Speaking to the Malay Mail, Mr Alagendrran said he started the airline to tap into the growing Muslim travellers market, but wanted it to appeal to all travellers.

“This is not a matter of segregation. Anyone wishing to travel I a modest and alcohol free environment will feel right at home,” he said.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in