Barely three months after getting the green light to take off, Malaysia's first Syariah-compliant airline Rayani Air has flown into turbulence. It is now under investigation by Malaysia's Transport Ministry for issuing handwritten boarding passes.
Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai told reporters that having handwritten boarding passes could be a potential security threat. He said the airline should not be using handwritten boarding passes.
"Yes, it can be a security threat because you can't read the handwriting," Liow said. The minister said that the claims will be investigated as hand written passes could have been issued due to a system breakdown.
Rayani Air's handwritten boarding pass came to the attention of the authorities when Kampung Tunku Assemblyman Lau Weng San posted a picture of his handwritten boarding pass when he flew using the airline from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching in Sarawak.
In his Facebook post, Lau said that made fun of the handwritten boarding pass noting how good the handwriting was. He also said that only in Malaysia could one find handwritten boarding passes.
However that is not Rayani Air's only problem. The Transport Ministry has also received a myriad of complaints from passengers, ranging from flight delays and cancellations to poor service. "Rayani Air has been cancelling flights without due notice. They have also repeatedly failed to provide replacement flights," he said.
The airline has been slapped with a warning to comply with regulations, he said. He warned that the airline would be referred to the Aviation Commission if complaints against it continued to pour in.
He warned that the Ministry can suspend the airlines if they fail to comply with existing rules. He said the airline will be monitored closely.
On its Facebook page, the airline apologised to its passengers for the "flight cancellations that has been happening due to technical procedures. Nevertheless, passengers' safety is our upmost important and we are doing our very best to solve the issues that have been surfacing recently."
Trying to be philosophical about it, the airline continued: "Mistakes increase your experiences, and experiences decreases your mistake. We will do our best, thank you for flying with Rayani Air."
The airline commenced operations in December last year. Promoting itself as the first Islamic airline, it does not carry alcohol on board and only offers halal food.