Saturday, December 19, 2015

First Shariah-compliant airline takes off

PETALING JAYA, Dec 20 — Taking a dive with the Blue Ocean Strategy, Rayani Air hopes to tap a new market and establish itself as a niche carrier in the Shariah-compliant market with its halal-certified airline. 

Rayani Air founders Ravi Alagendrran and his wife Datuk Karthiyani Govindan hope to create an uncontested market space for itself with an airline aimed at providing Muslim travellers with a comfortable flying experience with its Shariah-compliant services.

They assured that passengers of all faiths would be welcome on Rayani Air flights although they are predominantly eyeing the Muslim market.

“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 said, adding the Shariah-compliant industry has a huge potential for growth.

“We are confident that we will fill this niche and be able to compete with established airlines.” 

Ravi said the airline had hired 350 staff including eight pilots and 50 cabin crew and would fly five times a week between KL International Airport and Langkawi.

“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’s first Shariah-compliant airline was granted an operating licence during a ceremony in Putrajaya on Friday.

Department of Civil Aviation senior assistant director Jaafar Zamhari, who handed over the licence to the airline, said the crew would observe Shariah-compliant practices during flights.

“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 crew and passengers,” he said.

The airline will begin operations with a maiden flight from Langkawi International Airport to klia2 today.

Rayani Air’s fleet has two Boeing 737-400 aircraft with a capacity of 188 passengers each. 

The 737 has been in service since 1981 with 1,988 units being produced between 1980 and 2000. The aircraft is in service with several major airlines including Lufthansa and Southwest Airlines.

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