Aiming to become the United Kingdom and Europe's first Sharia-friendly carrier, Firnas Airways (Oxford Kidlington) has launched a USD50 million capital-raising drive in the Gulf.

Airline founder and CEO Kazi Shafiqur Rahman said in a statement that the funds would be used to sustain the start-up during its first three years of operations as well as to cover leases for a trio of B767-300(ER)s it plans to source.

In addition to Sharia-compliant financing, the airline also plans to offer an halaal on-board experience including halaal cuisine, kiblats, and an alcohol-free refreshment offering.

Firnas Airways will target the British Muslim demographic travelling to the Middle East and Asia. As such, it plans to operate unserved or underserved routes between the UK and Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, and is also in talks with London’s five major airports with a view to establishing the airline’s UK hub.

Former Biman Bangladesh Airlines (BG, Dhaka) CEO Kevin Steele has been tapped as the project's managing director.