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.”
In accordance to Islamic guidelines, in-flight meals are halal-- meaning that animals must be slaughtered according to Islamic procedures and 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 take-off.
There are already other shariah-friendly carriers operating around the world. Emirates doesn’t serve any pork products on their 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 mining company, Terus Maju Metal.