Muslim-friendly Rayani Air takes flight


RAYANI Air, Malaysia’s newest airline, began operations last month with services linking Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi and Kota Bharu.

The full-service carrier is positioned as a Shariah-compliant airline, with onboard food and beverages prepared by halal sources, a strict no alcohol policy, prayers recited on every route and female Muslim cabin crew donning hijabs.

Sumar Lee Hashim Lee, COO of Rayani Air said average load factor at the start will be low as operations began towards the end of the Malaysian school holidays, but from Chinese New Year onwards, the average load is expected to reach 50 to 60 per cent of capacity.

Jaafar Zamhari, managing director of Rayani Air, said the airline is operating with a fleet of two B737-400s, both 22-year-old aircraft.

Jaafar was formerly the alternate representative of Malaysia on the Council of ICAO, from 2008 to 2011. In September 2015, he retired from the Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia and joined Rayani Air.

Going forward, the airline plans to add two B737-800 aircrafts to its fleet this year and increase its domestic network to include Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. There are also plans to extend its network overseas to Jakarta and Manila as well as cities in China and the Middle East.

Langkawi International Airport is Rayani Air’s current home base with klia2 standing as its secondary hub.

When asked why Langkawi, Jaafar replied: “There are a lot of charters coming to Langkawi and we hope to tap on the tourists using these charters. Somebody must start something over there.”

The airline also hopes to offer charter services in the future.

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