Malaysia’s first Sharia-compliant airline suspends operations


PETALING JAYA, Malaysia – Rayani Air has suspended operations because pilots went on strike yesterday, three months after the budget airline began operations.

Ravi Alagendrran, founder of Malaysia’s first Sharia-compliant airline, said the suspension arose from the strike as well as unspecified “technical issues.”

An unidentified airline source said internal sabotage, by several department heads instigating the pilot strike, was the cause, according to the Malay Mail. “The suspension and restructuring will be used to identify and weed out these individuals. We do not know the motive behind their actions,” the report quoted the anonymous source as saying.

Staff were informed in an email yesterday of the suspension, said to be part of a company’s restructuring exercise, according to Malay Mail Online. This would be the second restructuring exercise by the company since it was founded on January 19, 2015.

At least three flights were cancelled yesterday, from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.

Ravi said the suspension had been approved by the Transport Ministry and the Civil Aviation Department.

The airline has been embroiled in controversy since it began operations. Last month the Transport Ministry ordered an investigation after a public outcry about handwritten boarding passes being issued to passengers on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching.

The airline also suffered several flight delays and cancellations. In February, Flight RN180 from Langkawi to KLIA2 in Sepang was cancelled because of a broken cockpit windscreen.

Passengers have complained that flights were often re-timed, with delays of up to 13 hours, cancellations without advance notice and without compensation or assistance for affected passengers.