Rayani Air May Go Bust – World’s Shortest-Lived Shariah-Compliant Airline

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Apr 10 2016
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The bet was it wouldn’t last more than 365 days. Rayani Air, however, is proving the critics wrong and may be on its way to business closure, sooner than expected. Just 110 days into operation, Rayani Air, proclaimed Malaysia’s first “Syariah-compliant” airline, has suspended itself before even the relevant authorities could do so (*grin*).


After Rayani Air management announced the suspension of its operations effective immediately on Saturday as part of the company’s restructuring plan, Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai swung into action, announcing a “formal” suspension notice will be issued on Monday. It will also face a full administrative and safety audit by the Department of Civil Aviation.

Rayani Air - Plane Taking Off

Rayani Air was launched with much “bangs and booms” on December 20, 2015, boosting itself with 350 staffs, including 8 pilots and 50 cabin crew, flying to 3 destinations with their 2 Boeing 737-400 aircrafts purchased from Neptune Air Limited. Since then, whoever dared criticized it as a “fake” halal airline had been called anti-Islam, Islamophobia and whatnot.


So, how come the God didn’t protect the country’s first Shariah-compliant airline from going into a humiliating self-suspension, merely 3 months into its operation? Does the God not recognize Rayani Air’s halal compliance and certification? With the suspension, Rayani Air has created a Guiness Record to be the world’s shortest-lived Shariah-compliant airline to be suspended, and perhaps to go bust eventually.

Rayani Air Founders - Ravi Alagendrran and Karthiyani Govindan

What had gone wrong with Rayani Air which was founded by Tony Fernandez wannabes Ravi Alagendrran and his wife Karthiyani Govindan? Will extremists such as Ibrahim Ali, Ridhuan Tee or Jamal Yunos blames the failure of Rayani Air on non-Muslims – founders Ravi and his wife, or even Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai – as they normally would?


Surprisingly, the latest “restructuring” is the second of such exercise since the airline was founded on 19 January, 2015. Apparently, the suspension on Saturday was caused by a pilot strike which forced the airline to cancel at least three flights from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. But the real problems went back months ago.

Rayani Air - Customers Check In At Counter

Last month, Rayani Air invited criticism and sparked public outrage for issuing handwritten boarding passes to passengers on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching. On Feb 9, Rayani Air Flight RN180 from Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur was cancelled after a cockpit windshield was found to be broken.


Since March, Rayani Air passengers have consistently complained about frequently re-timed flights, with some being delayed for up to 13 hours, not to mention cancelled flights without advance notice and without compensating or assisting affected passengers. The service was so bad it makes the often criticised low cost carrier Air Asia looks like world’s best first class Etihad Airways.

Rayani Air - Crew Walking From Plane

According to some reports, an unidentified airline source has revealed internal sabotage by several department heads instigating the pilot strike because the Shariah-compliant airline has not paid wages to 485 of its staff. There were also claims that its pilots’ refusal to fly was due to the company’s two aircraft having “hydraulic and airframe issues” (mechanical structure comprising fuselage, wings and undercarriage).


If the allegation is true about the airline’s structural unsafe aircraft, which causes internal pilot boycott, how was then Rayani Air able to get its license and clearance from the Departments of Civil Aviation and Transport Ministry to fly in the first place? Although Rayani Air’s aircrafts are “second-hand”, they should not have broken down within 3 months of operations.

Rayani Air - Customers At Check-in Counters to Kota Bharu

On the other hand, if it’s true that the airline couldn’t pay their 485 staff just 3 months into operations, it simply means Rayani Air was having financial problem before its first aircraft could take-off as the country’s first Syariah-compliant airline. Therefore, the airline should not have had been granted license to operate as if they’re operating a hamburger kiosk.


And if it’s true that Rayani Air was operating with very little financial funds, naturally its maintenance records are questionable, leading to pilots flying “time-bomb” Boeing 737-400 risking hundreds of innocent lives. Perhaps all of the above are true. Does the top management know they cannot suspend its aviation operations whenever they like?

Rayani Air - Liow Tiong Lai and Ravi Alagendrran - Cannot Suspend Itself

It seems Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai was flabbergasted that Rayani Air had suspended itself without informing Departments of Civil Aviation. Either founders Ravi Alagendrran and Karthiyani Govindan were clueless and ignorant about the industry, or they simply don’t care about rules and regulations, let alone compliance.


In the same breath, if financial, regulations and safety compliances were not met before Rayani Air was granted the green light to fly, were the airline and the relevant government authorities riddled with irregularity, corruption or other wrongdoing? For now, it appears that besides the Shariah-compliance sticker, nothing else were compliant at all to the airline.

Rayani Air Staff Crew with Plane Model and Destination Banting

Let’s hope hard-earned taxpayers’ money will not be used to bailout Rayani Air, the same way the Malaysian Airlines System was bailed out numerous times previously, just for the sake of satisfying some fanatics’ pride of maintaining the country’s first Shariah-compliant airline. Perhaps the airline supporters should donate their own money or start some sort of crowd-funding to fund their “halal airline”.


The crisis hitting Rayani Air is the best example why business and religion should not be mixed and misunderstood. A business should be run professionally without the hope of depending on religion alone for sustainability. But Rayani Air clearly was relying heavily on Shariah-compliant gimmick to make money, thinking and hoping it could survive like other state-owned Shariah-compliant airlines.

Rayani Air - Inset Islamic Prayer

If Rayani Air couldn’t survive under the present cheap crude oil environment, chances are high it would go bust even if there aren’t any financial and faulty aircraft problems – when the crude oil appreciates. Its business model simply doesn’t work. It was trying too hard offering full service airline but at the cost of low cost carrier. If it works, the bankrupted Malaysian Airlines System would have had done so ages ago.


It doesn’t matter if its Muslim crews are obliged to cover their heads (hijabs) and pork or alcoholic beverages on board are forbidden. You can conduct thousands of Islamic prayers before or during every flight. At the end of the day, wages needed to be paid and maintenance needed to be performed. The God and Shariah-compliant labels will not pay your staff and repair your aeroplanes.

Rayani Air - Shariah Compliant Logo

But is it game over for the country’s first Shariah-compliant airline before its first birthday since taking off to the sky? Based on an email, Mr Ravi requested his officers to order their respective divisions to cease operations and to “recalculate the company’s assets”. Obviously, the turbulence is too much to handle and the option of closing down the airline is on the table.


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Should pilot being the reason for its self suspension there is a solution just get Hj Hadi and Haron din to be the pilots.

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