News Karnataka
Sunday, April 02 2023

Malaysia’s first Shariah-compliant Islamic airline launched by Indian couple

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Kuala Lumpur: In what seems to be a rare addition to the airline industry, an Indian couple has launched Malaysia’s first Islamic airline Rayani Air – offering Shariah compliant services including prayers before take-off, restriction of on-flight serving of alcohol or meals with pork and a strict dress code for female flight attendants.

Founded by Ravi Alagendrran and his wife Karthiyani Govindan who have used parts of their first names for the airline’s name, Rayani Air assures its passengers that all faiths are welcome onboard. However, the target audience is primarily the Muslim Market, according to the founders.

“This is not a matter of segregation. We have a target market and anyone wishing to travel in a modest and alcohol free environment will feel right at home,” Ravi told Malay Mail, adding that the Shariah-compliant industry had a huge potential for growth.

Department of Civil Aviation senior assistant director Jaafar Zamhari, who handed over the licence to the airline, said: “Muslim crew members will be obliged to cover their heads and non-Muslim members of the crew are required to dress decently in accordance to Shariah requirements.

“The airline will not allow any pork or alcoholic beverages on board and Islamic prayers will be conducted before every flight for the safety of the passengers.”

According to Ravi, the airline has a total of 350 staff including 8 pilots and 50 cabin crew and will be flying five times a week between Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi, at a distance of some 410 kilometers.

“Operations will be expanded to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu next year. International flights to Indonesia and the Philippines will be added at a later date,” he said.
Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country with Muslims constituting about 60 per cent of the country’s 30 million people. The country also has a sizable ethnic Indian community, majority of them Hindus, forming about 6.3 per cent of the total population.

Many Muslim leaders in the country has blamed the two recent disasters involving Malaysia Airlines – Flight 370 which went missing in March last year and Flight 17 downed over Ukraine – were a message from God for breaking Islamic rules on flights. Ahmad Tarmizi Sulaiman, a leader of the youth arm of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) has blamed the disaster on serving of alcohol on flights.
In the wake of such incidents this rather unique facility would be of great relief to the people, so it would seem.

Rayani Air’s fleet has two Boeing 737-400 aircraft with a capacity of 188 passengers each. The airliner operated its inaugural flight on Sunday, December 20.


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