Rayani Air halts operations after pilot strike

A pilot strike reportedly forced Rayani Air to cancel at least three flights yesterday from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. — Bernama pic
A pilot strike reportedly forced Rayani Air to cancel at least three flights yesterday from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, April 9 — Rayani Air has suspended operations since yesterday after the country’s first Shariah compliant airline was launched just about three months ago last December.

Rayani Air founder Ravi Alagendrran said the decision was made following a strike by the airline's pilots yesterday and “technical” issues, which he did not elaborate on.

“We apologise to all our passengers. We will take this time to work out the operations and technical issues that have surfaced,” Ravi told Malay Mail today.

Ravi told staff in an email yesterday that operations were suspended with immediate effect until further notice as part of a company restructuring exercise.

“You may instruct your (subordinates) to close down the operations and re-count back the company assets,” he said in the email sighted by Malay Mail.

This would be the second restructuring exercise by the local company since it was founded on January 19, 2015, when Rayani Air changed its call sign from red to green and turned from a low cost carrier to a full service airline. Rayani Air began operations with a maiden flight on December 20 last year.

A pilot strike reportedly forced Rayani Air to cancel at least three flights yesterday from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.

The troubled airline previously sparked public outrage and an investigation from the Transport Ministry for issuing handwritten boarding passes to passengers on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching last month.

Ravi said today that he had made a request to the Transport Ministry and the Department of Civil Aviation for suspension of the local airline and that they had granted his request.

Rayani Air ― Malaysia’s first Islamic airline that doesn’t serve alcohol or pork on board and requires its Muslim female flight attendants to wear the tudung ― has experienced several flight delays and cancellations.

Rayani Air Flight RN180 from Langkawi to the klia2 airport in Sepang last February 9 was cancelled after a cockpit windshield was found to be broken.

The airline had said it would investigate whether this was an act of sabotage and cooperate with the authorities if this turned out to be true.

Since March, Rayani Air passengers have complained on social media about frequently re-timed flights, with some being delayed for up to 13 hours.

The airline had also allegedly cancelled flights without advance notice and without compensating or assisting affected passengers.

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