“Muslim travelers are looking for services and experiences which take their needs into account,” says Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of CrescentRating “There’s definitely growth potential for airlines.”
Malaysia’s first Shariah-compliant airline, Rayani Air, made its maiden flight last month, and is the fourth carrier to follow Islamic tenets after Saudi Arabian Airlines, Royal Brunei Airlines and Iran Air.
The airline offers halal food, and follows Islamic teachings such as reciting a prayer before take-off. (And for the non-Muslims, there is is no alcohol served). Currently, Rayani Air services five domestic destinations and has plans to fly overseas by 2017.
The company will compete for a share of a $145 billion Muslim travel market that experts expect to expand to $200 billion by 2020. “Muslims are now becoming an important consumer market for the entire world,” according to a report by CrescentRating and MasterCard . “Faith is increasingly influencing their purchasing decisions. Muslim travel will continue to be one of the fastest-growing travel sectors in the world.”