Malaysia Launches Its First Shariah-Compliant Airline


Malaysian budget airline Rayani Air is the predominantly Muslim country’s first Shariah-compliant airline. (Rayani Air)

Malaysia launched the maiden voyage of its first Shariah-compliant airline Sunday.

Rayani Air took off from the capital Kuala Lumpur to the resort island of Langkawi.

“We are the first Malaysian airline to be Shariah-compliant based on guidelines by relevant authorities,“ the company’s managing director Jaafar Zamhari told Malaysia’s Star newspaper. “We are proud of this.”

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In accordance with Islamic guidelines, in-flight meals are halal — meaning that animals must be slaughtered according to Islamic procedures and meals contain no pork — and alcohol consumption is strictly prohibited. Female Muslim flight crew are required to wear headscarves, while non-Muslim crew are to be decently dressed, managing director Jaafar Zamhari told reporters.

There will also be prayer recitals on the plane before takeoff.

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There are already other Shariah-friendly carriers operating around the world. Emirates doesn’t serve any pork products on its flights, and Etihad has a travel prayer before takeoff. And the U.K.-based Firnas Airways is planning to offer similar flights next year, according to a Bloomberg news agency report.

Malaysia has a moderate Muslim-majority population, but conservative attitudes are rising.

The company is a collaboration between an oil and gas company, Merdeka Jayabumi Enterprise, and a mining company, Terus Maju Metal.

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