Malaysia’s Shariah Compliant Airlines: What You Need To Know

Sharia Airlines

An Indian-origin couple has launched an airline in Malaysia. You must be wondering what is so special about this? Well, this airline is first of its kind in Malaysia. This Islamic airline will be offering Shariah-compliant services including prayers before take-off, no on-flight serving of alcohol or meals with pork and a strict dress code for female flight attendants. Also, this is the world’s fourth Shariah compliant airlines.

This airline is not exclusive for Muslim passengers and they are inviting people from all faiths. However, the target market is the Muslim community.

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It is mandatory for the Muslim as well as the Non-Muslim staff to abide by the rules in compliance with Shariah Laws and dress in accordance with them.

The airline has hired 350 staff including eight pilots and 50 cabin crew and would fly five times a week between Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi, at a distance of some 410 kilometers. The fleet has two Boeing 737-400 aircraft with a capacity of 188 passengers each. The airline took off on its maiden flight on Sunday. Flight operations will be expanded to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu over the next year. Also, international flights to Indonesia and the Philippines are proposed to be added at later.

Malaysia’s population is dominated by the Muslims and so eyeing the Muslim market is definitely a smart strategy. Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country with Muslims constituting about 60 per cent of the country’s 30 million people.

This airline has been established by an Indian-origin couple, Ravi Alagendrran and his wife Karthiyani Govindan. It has been named Rayani, using parts of the founders’ names.

Rayani-Air

The main force behind the establishment of this airline is because of the beliefs of the Muslim majority in Malaysia. Many Muslim leaders in the country have 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 the flight.

Due to these arguments, the Indian-origin couple realized the need of such an airline in Malaysia that could serve these.

So, the introduction of Rayani is rather debate-able as it stirs up the age-old controversy of segregation based on religion.

In the recent times religion has caused more harm than good and we have people clawing at each other’s necks in the name of religion. Instead of uniting we are finding more and more reasons to create a divide, one that shouldn’t even exist to begin with!

The fact that people capitalize on such trivial, yet controversial subjects is abysmal. Every religion has their own set of rules and if everyone were to start distinguishing airlines on the basis of religion, would that world be worth living in? What’s next? Schools and colleges that are divided on the same lines? How is that good in any way?

While it may seem like a smart business idea, it does not necessarily mean that it is in the best interest of social harmony. Culture and modernity must thrive and co-exist. This world is ours, all of us together. Once we believe this and act that way, only then can we be called citizens of the world.

Akanksha Sharma, Shireen Azizi

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The Viewspaper