Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia’s Rayani Air, the country’s first Sharia-compliant airline owned by an ethnic Indian Hindu couple, has been suspended for three months for failing to adhere to aviation regulations, it was announced today.
Department of Civil Aviation Director-General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said the suspension notice had been sent to the airline.
He said an inquiry on Rayani Air would be held on May 12 pertaining to the suspension order.
“The suspension will be lifted if they fulfill all of our requirements or we can permanently suspend (Rayani Air) or take a longer time.
Three months is provisional. We have discussed with the airline and they know about it. It’s up to them to improve,” he told a press conference here.
Authorities said Rayani Air had contravened the conditions of its Air Operators Certificate (AOC). They said a full administration and safety audit would be conducted into the airlines.
The airline was founded by Ravi Alagendrran and his wife Karthiyani Govindan and started operations in December last year. They used parts of their first names for the airline’s name.
“DCA will undertake a full administration and safety audit to determine if Rayani is ‘fit’ for AOC after serving provisional suspension,” Transport minister Liow Tiong Lai said.
Liow said he was disappointed with the airline’s poor procedures and service level despite being warned by the Transport Ministry and DCA.
Rayani Air is Malaysia’s first Sharia-compliant airline.
On Saturday, the airline had announced that it would suspend operations immediately as part of the company’s restructuring plan.
The suspension follows a strike organised by its pilots on Friday which forced the airline to cancel several flights.
“Rayani cannot suspend itself, only DCA can suspend it,” Liow said.
The Transport Minister said DCA could revoke Rayani Air’s licence but the airline would be given “a chance to explain”.
Azharuddin said this was the first time an airline’s AOC was suspended under Regulation 24 of the Civil Aviation Regulations 1996.
He said DCA would ensure that all airlines which had been issued AOC fulfilled all the requirements under the Civil Aviation Regulations 1996.
“If they are unable to sustain their obligations to the regulations, then we will issue warnings as well as offer advice. If they are unable to fulfill the requirements, we can suspend (them),” he said.
Asked whether the suspension on Rayani Air would give a bad reputation to Malaysia’s aviation industry, Azharuddin said DCA was just exercising its rights in accordance with the regulations.
“We cannot let the airline that has contravened our regulations to fly. We must do something about it,” he said.