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Air France KLM September passenger traffic up 2.7 percent from last year

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By Reuters
Air France KLM September passenger traffic up 2.7 percent from last year
FILE PHOTO - An Air France airplane lands at sunrise at the Charles-de-Gaulle Airport in Roissy, near Paris, France August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann   -   Copyright  CHRISTIAN HARTMANN(Reuters)

PARIS (Reuters) – Air France KLM <AIRF.PA> reported on Monday 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 percent from a year ago.

It added that its load factor – a measure of how full an airline’s planes are – had increased by 0.2 percentage points to 88.6 percent.

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

Strikes earlier this spring cost the group some 350 million euros (307.3 million pounds) and led to the departure of Smith’s predecessor, while Air France KLM shares have fallen nearly 40 percent so far in 2018.

Tne French state has a 14 percent stake in Air France KLM, while Delta Airlines <DAL.N> and China Eastern Airlines <600115.SS> each hold an 8.8 percent stake in the group.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)