Meet the Hindu couple of Indian descent who launched Malaysia’s first Islamic airline


Ravi Alagendrran and Karthiyani Govindan’s Rayani Air serves halal food but no alcohol, pork on board

India At Large staff

An ethnic Indian Hindu couple has launched Malaysia’s first Islamic airline offering Shariah compliant services including prayers before take-off, no on-flight serving of alcohol or meals with pork and a strict dress code for female flight attendants.

Rayani Air founders Ravi Alagendrran and his wife Karthiyani Govindan, who used parts of their first names for the airline’s name (‘Ra’ from ‘Ravi’ and ‘yani’ from ‘Karthiyani’), assured that passengers of all faiths would be welcome on the flights although they are primarily eyeing the Muslim market.

“This is not a matter of segregation. We have a target market and anyone wishing to travel in a modest and alcohol-free environment will feel right at home,” Alagendran told Malay Mail, adding, the Shariah-compliant industry had a huge potential for growth.

Another possible inspiration for the airline is the belief among some conservative Malaysian Muslims that the recent Malaysia Airlines disasters – the disappearance of MH370 and the shooting down of MH17 – were linked to Allah’s wrath, reported AP.

Rayani is a domestic airline based on the resort island of Langkawi, and currently flies to the capital Kuala Lumpur and the northern city of Kota Bahru.

It only has two Boeing 737-400 planes in its fleet, each able to carry about 180 passengers, and just eight pilots and 50 crew. But it has set its sights on rapid expansion, with plans to fly to more Malaysian cities – and eventually flights to Mecca, for umrah and hajj pilgrimages, reports The New Straits Times.

Rayani Air had its maiden flight on December 20 last year, becoming the fourth carrier to follow Islamic tenets after Saudi Arabian Airlines, Royal Brunei Airlines and Iran Air.

The ethnic Indian couple, Alagendrran and Govindan, also control Terus Maju Metal, which has an iron ore mine and holds government contracts to salvage marine vessels. Rayani has paid-up capital of 5 million ringgit ($1.1 million) and wants to fly to Europe and take Muslim pilgrims to Saudi Arabia within 10 years, reports Bloomberg.


Pics courtesy: Ravi Alagendrran’s Facebook page


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