Lonely Planet Writer

Malaysia's first Sharia airline takes to the skies

The first Sharia-compliant airline in Malaysia, Rayani Air, has begun offering a unique service. Currently the airline serves only domestic destinations (Kota Bharu, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Kuala Lumpur, and Langkawi), but it plans to expand quickly to other major cities in the region.

In this Dec. 22, 2015, photo, a Rayani Air flight crew walks down the aisle on board before departure at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 in Sepang, Malaysia. Malaysia?s Rayani Air took to the skies over the weekend with a clear bailiwick. It is the country?s first Islamic airline, offering flights that adhere to Islamic rules including prayers, no-alcohol, no-pork meals, and a strict dress code for Muslim female flight attendants
In this Dec. 22, 2015, photo, a Rayani Air flight crew walks down the aisle on board before departure at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 in Sepang, Malaysia. Malaysia?s Rayani Air took to the skies over the weekend with a clear bailiwick. It is the country?s first Islamic airline, offering flights that adhere to Islamic rules including prayers, no-alcohol, no-pork meals, and a strict dress code for Muslim female flight attendants Image by AP Photo/Joshua Paul

Being Sharia-compliant means all food served is halal, alcohol consumption is prohibited, female Muslim flight crew members wear a hijba, and prayers will be recited before departures, according to the  International Business Tribune.

Associated Press reported: “The idea for Rayani Air grew out of much-publicized complaints by conservative Muslims who believed that two major air disasters for the national Malaysia Airlines — Flight 370 that went missing in March 2014 and Flight 17 downed a few months later over Ukraine — were caused by Allah’s wrath. Their solution: Airlines must adopt strict Islamic customs to avoid divine retribution.”

Rayani Air is the world’s fourth Sharia-compliant airline, joining Royal Brunei Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, and Iran Air. Bloomberg reports that Furnas Airways will offer Sharia-compliant flights between London and South Asia this year.

Rayani Air’s Boeing 737s offer both business and economy classes. Muffins, fruit juice, and peanuts are offered to all passengers, while meals are available to purchase. Passengers in economy class may bring 20kg of baggage without incurring additional fees, whereas business class travelers are allotted 40kg.