DCA grounds Rayani Air for three months

DCA grounds Rayani Air for three months
Better times: The inaugural flight of Rayani Air to Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

PUTRAJAYA - The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has suspended the operations of problem-plagued Rayani Air for three months.

DCA director-general Datuk Seri Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said a notice of the provisional suspension of the airline's Air Operator Certificate (AOC) was issued yesterday.

"DCA hereby provisionally suspends Rayani Air, Air Operator Certificate No 54 issued under Regulation 24 of the Civil Aviation Regulations 1996, for a period of three months from the date of this notice," said Azharuddin in a statement issued by the DCA.

He told reporters at a media briefing at the DCA that an inquiry had been set for May 12 where the airline would be asked to present its case and explain its shortfalls.

He added that this was the first time an airline in Malaysia had its AOC suspended.

The airline halted its operations last Friday after strikes by its pilots caused several flight cancellations and sparked public uproar.

Disgruntled passengers took to social media to complain about cancellations and poor service, which included an incident where handwritten boarding passes were issued to passengers.

Launched only in December, Malaysia's newest airline dubs itself "the first syariah-compliant" airline in the country and uses the Langkawi International Airport as its home base.

As a "syariah-compliant" airline, its Muslim crew were required to wear the hijab, food and beverages served were to be halal-certified and no alcohol was to be served.

Rayani Air has two planes - both Boeing 737-400s. Two B737-400s were due to enter service next month. Two B737-800s were due to arrive in August and two more next year.

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