Kenya Airways said Wednesday its passenger traffic to Middle East and Far East regions grew by 12.3 percent for the first quarter ended June 30 compared to the same period in 2012.
The airline said the increased traffic was fueled by the introduction of daily operations to Guangzhou via Bangkok coupled with increased deployment of larger B777 equipment to Bombay.
"In the Middle East and Far East regions, Kenya Airways said uplifted passenger traffic stood at 139,275 showed a 12.3 percent improvement over prior year. The realized cabin factor of 70.2 percent in this region was 2.1 percentage points better than last year," it said in a statement.
The passenger traffic comes as the national carrier hopes to strengthen its presence in China by offering better connection options to its passengers from Africa and its association with China Eastern Airlines gives it an opportunity to offer our customers a seamless connection to and from China.
Kenya Airways recently inked an agreement with China Eastern Airlines that enable KQ code share on daily services between Bangkok and Shanghai, while China Eastern Airlines will code share on daily Kenya Airways service between Bangkok and Nairobi.
Kenya Airways is also seeking to more than double the number of its aeroplanes to 115 in the next ten years.
The company said it will also take bank loans to finance the ten year expansion plan that will cost 3.6 billion U.S. dollars when completed.
On Wednesday, the company said it put into the market place a total capacity of 3,464m seat km which gives a year on year growth of 3.0 percent.
"During this quarter the airline successfully launched three weekly operations into Livingstone, the third destination in Zambia after Lusaka and Ndola," it said.
Passengers uplifted within Kenya grew by 22.1 percent to 222, 516 with an improved cabin factor of 76.8 percent an increase of 3. 6 percentage points due to the resurgence of business traffic in the country.
The total capacity offered into the Northern African region remained flat compared to prior year despite the introduction of a third daily frequency to Juba because of the inevitable cutbacks made to Cairo following the volatile political situation in Egypt.
The capacity offered in East Africa region grew by 12.9 percent occasioned by increased early morning departures to Entebbe and additional Dar es Salaam frequencies and daily night stops.
Capacity in Southern Africa region grew by 10.4 percent largely because of the increased night time operations into Lusaka and Lilongwe as well as the introduction of Livingstone.
The 10.9 percent decline in capacity seen in the West and Central African regions was driven mainly by the suspension of Bangui, Ouagadougou, N'Djamena and Libreville destinations due to constrained demand.
Domestic capacity grew by 11.6 percent compared to same quarter last year due to the re-launch of Eldoret in October 2012 and a further two daily flights into Kisumu including a night stop.
Cargo capacity offered measured cargo tonne km on the passenger aircraft belly declined by 4.0 percent with an equivalent drop in actual cargo volumes uplifted in the quarter.
However, the introduction of the regional freighter in April marked a major milestone in broadening the cargo network and will continue to drive the attractiveness of Nairobi as the region's future airfreight hub.