As a frequent flier and devout Muslim, businessman Abdalhamid Evans always comes up against the same challenge in the air: when to say his prayers.
Muslims are required to pray five times a day at certain hours, but this schedule becomes complicated when crossing various time zones thousands of meters above sea level.
“I usually don’t pray when I am in a plane,” said Evans, the London-based founder of a Web site that provides information on the global halal, or Islam--compliant, industry.
“But lately I have been thinking that it is probably better to do them in the air than make them up on arrival,” he said.
The problem may be solved for travelers such as Evans thanks to an innovation called the Air Travel Prayer Time Calculator, developed by -Singapore-based Crescentrating, a firm that gives halal ratings to hotels and other travel-related establishments.
Launched earlier this month, the online tool takes data such as prayer times in the country of origin, the destination city and in countries on the flight path and uses an algorithm to plot exact prayer hours during a flight.
Current programs only allow Muslims to find their prayer hours according to their position on land and the absence of any tools that can be used to calculate during a flight has compromised many travelers.
“I knew there was lot of frustration among the travelers on this issue, but nobody had really attempted to solve it,” Crescentrating chief executive Fazal Bahardeen said in an interview.
Before embarking on a trip, a Muslim traveler can now go to the online calculator on the Crescentrating Web site and input his or her departure airport, time of flight and destination. The calculator then comes up with the prayer times set either in the local time of the airport of origin, the destination city or the country that the aircraft is flying over, which the traveler can then e-mail to themselves to access later.
His team also plans to develop a mobile app that will point the faithful in the direction of the Islamic holy city of Mecca, which Muslims must face when they pray, based on the flight path, Fazal said.
Muslim travelers have welcomed the tool.
“It is good for long-haul traveling,” said Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank vice president Shiraz Sideek, who travels up to a dozen times a year.
“When you cross different times zones in an airplane, you have a problem of timing when to pray,” he said from Abu Dhabi. “The application sounds like a very unique thing and very useful.”
Indonesian airline industry executive Sabry Salahudeen agreed that there is a potentially big market for the new tool.
“I’ve been in the airline -industry for the past 20 plus years ... To my knowledge I do not think anyone has come up with anything like this,” said Salahudeen, who is vice president for airport operations and aircraft procurement at Pacific Royale Airways, a soon-to-be-launched premium airline in Indonesia.
As more Muslims travel around the world, services catering to their needs are expanding, industry players say.
In 2010, Muslim travelers spent US$100 billion, or about 10 percent of total global travel expenditure, Fazal said.
This is projected to increase to between 14 percent and 15 percent of the global total by 2020.
The World Tourism Organization last year estimated that an additional 2 million Arabs will travel overseas over the next 20 years, raising their region’s total of outbound tourists to 37 million.
While it is still early days for the Air Travel Prayer Time Calculator, potential customers say mobility is important.
“If it becomes a smartphone app ... it could prove to be a popular idea,” Evans said.
Polytronics Technology Corp (聚鼎科技) yesterday announced that it is buying Henkel AG’s thermal clad dielectric material (TCLAD) business division for US$26 million as the Taiwanese firm aims to improve its technology, product portfolio and revenue performance. Polytronics, headquartered in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), is a supplier of protection components and heat dissipation materials. The firm entered the metallic heat-dissipation substrate market in 2007 and developed a unique solventless production process. Its board of directors approved signing an agreement with Henkel to acquire the German chemical firm’s TCLAD division in the US. The purchase includes all assets and business interests, including equipment,
ELECTRIC FARMLAND: TSMC’s proposal to clear 230 hectares of reforested land for what would become Taiwan’s largest photovoltaic solar farm has generated concerns New rules curbing solar farms built on agricultural land sparked fierce debate at a packed public hearing at the Legislative Yuan yesterday, with industry representatives saying that the new restrictions would endanger President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) green energy goals, while agricultural officials emphasized the importance of protecting farmers and the environment. The Tsai administration has set a target to generate 20 percent of the nation’s power from renewable sources by 2025, by which time it also aims to install 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar power, including 6GW from rooftop solar systems and 14GW from ground-mounted solar farms. Although rooftop solar systems are
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday posted monthly revenue that suggested second-quarter sales surpassed analysts’ estimates, underscoring how its technological lead is helping the chipmaker weather the COVID-19 pandemic and US sanctions on its second-biggest customer Huawei Technologies Co (華為). Apple Inc’s main iPhone chipmaker posted sales of NT$120.88 billion (US$4.08 billion) for last month, up 40.8 percent year-on-year and bringing its revenue for the second quarter to NT$310.7 billion, beating the NT$308.8 billion analysts expected on average. TSMC, a barometer for the industry thanks to its heft in the global supply chain, had previously lowered its revenue outlook for this
‘SENSITIVE MARKETS’: The previously unannounced project would involve the company handing over control of data to a third party to sidestep privacy concerns Google has abandoned plans to offer a major new cloud service in China and other politically sensitive countries due in part to concerns over geopolitical tensions and the COVID-19 pandemic, two employees familiar with the matter said, revealing the challenges for US tech giants to secure business in those markets. In May, the search giant shut down the initiative, known as “Isolated Region” and which sought to address nations’ desires to control data within their borders, the employees said. The action was considered a “massive strategy shift,” said one of the employees, who added that Isolated Region had involved hundreds of employees