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Air France KLM September Passenger Traffic Rose 2.7%

By Dave Simpson

Air France KLM has reported a rise in passenger traffic in September, with the airline aiming to improve its business performance after strikes earlier this year cost it millions of euros and led to a management shake-up.

Air France KLM said it carried a total of 9.1 million passengers last month across the group's various airline brands, up 2.7% from a year ago.

Its load factor - a measure of how full an airline's planes are - increased 0.2 percentage points to 88.6%.

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Canadian Benjamin Smith took over as Air France KLM's new group chief executive last month. Smith faces the task of having to overcome union resistance to shrink the French unit's swollen cost base while keeping increasingly frustrated Dutch staff on side.

"Uninspiring, But Decent"

"At first sight, the numbers look uninspiring, but decent," said Pierre Willot, fund manager at Paris-based firm Montaigne Capital, which has a small holding in AirFrance KLM.

"The bright spot is Transavia, with fairly solid numbers. This low-cost subsidiary now represents 1.7 million passengers for the month compared to 9.1 million for the AF-KLM group in September. This is definitely one of the assets that could helpAir France to become structurally profitable," he added.

Strikes this spring cost the group some €350 million and led to the departure of Smith's predecessor.

The French state has a 14% stake in Air France KLM, while Delta Airlines and China Eastern Airlines each hold an 8.8% stake in the group.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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