Rayani Air grounded for three months


AFTER less than four months in operation, Rayani Air, Malaysia’s first Shariah-compliant carrier, has been suspended for three months effective yesterday.

The Department of Civil Aviation of Malaysia (DCA) had given a provisional suspension notice to Rayani Air as the airline had failed to adhere to DCA’s regulation. The airline had also earlier suspended operations on its own.

This follows a pilot strike on Friday, April 8, which had resulted in cancellation of certain flights out of Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Langkawi. The strike took place over alleged non-payment of salaries.

On Saturday, the airline suspended operations on its own with a notice put up on the airline’s official Facebook page.

The notice read: “Firstly, we are very sorry for the inconveniences caused. We are working very hard to solve our internal matters and get Rayani back on track. We understand that your plans and scheduled agendas have been disrupted, we truly apologise. We will reply each and every email on your queries and refunds. We thank you for your understanding and support.”

The notice also went up on the Facebook page of Ravi Alagendrran, executive director of Rayani Air.

The airline was riddled with issues such as flight delays and cancellations during the short period it was in operation. It also received two notices from the Transport Ministry last month to improve its services.

When contacted, Syed Razif Al Yahya, president of Bumitra Malaysia, said that the Malaysian Transport Ministry and the DCA had to be stricter when issuing licences to airlines.

New airline companies should also ensure they were operationally ready before commencement of services to the public, he added.

Taking advantage of the opportunity to fill their own flights, Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia are offering Rayani Air passengers affected by the suspension reduced airfares to travel to their intended destinations.

The DCA will be holding an inquiry on the airline’s management on May 12.

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