Malaysia Shuts Down Sharia-Compliant Airline Because It Wasn’t Aviation-Compliant

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After a splashy launch in December, Rayani Air has come to an ignominious end in June. According to, Malaysia’s first sharia-compliant airline wasn’t aviation-compliant. Following complaints from passengers, a safety audit that evidently didn’t go well, and a crippling strike by pilots, the government shut the carrier down.

Rayani Air’s compliance with Islamic law meant “Muslim flight crew wearing the hijab, while non-Muslim members were forbidden from wearing revealing clothing. In-flight meals were completely halal, and alcohol consumption banned.”

Whatever they thought of its sharia features, passengers were reportedly irked by late flights and last-minute cancellations. Pilots were irked by unpaid wages. The final blow was a safety audit, which prompted the Malaysian government – understandably concerned about safety after the disappearance of flight MH370 over the Indian Ocean, and the shootdown of flight MH17 over Ukraine – to pull the plug on Rayani Air.

The Vulcan Post cites a few more reasons the airline got in trouble, including its predilection for scribbling handwritten boarding passes on blank sheets of paper, competitors scooping up their passengers after canceled flights, the loss of experienced flight crew to other carriers, and the high cost of refunding tickets to the large number of unhappy Rayani passengers.

Also, when the CEO of Rayani was summoned before Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation last month, he fainted. He claimed this was a result of high blood pressure. It didn’t make a good impression on the authorities. reports that Rayani Air used its Facebook page to announce that it would appeal the government’s decision and ask for a “second chance.”

The BBC notes that Rayani had only two aircraft, Boeing 737-400s that could carry 180 passengers each.


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