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Kenya Airways Passenger Numbers Drop 1.1% on Europe Crisis

Kenya Airways Ltd., sub-Saharan Africa’s third-biggest carrier, said it flew fewer passengers and less cargo in the fiscal first quarter amid reduced flights to Europe because of that region’s debt crisis.

The number of passengers declined 1.1 percent to 841,238 in the three months through June, the Nairobi-based airline said in an e-mailed statement today. Revenue passenger kilometers fell 4.5 percent to 2.2 million, it said.

“Capacity offered into Europe shrunk by 18.8 percent compared to the same quarter of the prior year due to capacity rationalization occasioned by the euro zone crisis,” it said.

KQ, as the airline is known, plans to triple the size of its fleet and more than double the number of routes it flies over the next 10 years as part of an expansion plan. In May, the company sold 14.5 billion shillings ($172 million) of stock to existing shareholders as part of a plan to raise $3.6 billion to fund the project.

The amount of cargo handled by the carrier fell 3.9 percent to 14,683 metric tons, it said.

“Exports from Kenya dropped on account of unfavourable weather patterns in April and market capacity,” KQ said. “Volumes from Europe shrunk reflecting the volatile economic conditions.”

South African Airways and Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise are sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest carriers by passenger numbers, according to the International Air Transport Association.

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