Air-France KLM group has projected the growth of Available Seats per Kilometer (ASK) on its network to rebound to pre-Covid levels by next year.

The growth is attributed to an increase in passenger capacity in the second half of 2023 by 8.2 percent or 24.7 million passengers across its airlines compared to the same period in 2022.

According to the group’s half-year results, as the capacity increased and the passenger traffic grew by 11.6 percent, the load factor scaled up by 2.6 points compared to last year, marking a significant step towards the airline’s recovery and growth journey.

Giving his remarks on the performance and 2024 projections, AFKLM General Manager for East and Southern Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana Marius van der Ham said as they continue to invest in technology, customer experience, and sustainable aviation, they are confident that by 2024, the airline will not only recover to 2019 levels but also set new standards for the industry.

“We are thrilled to see our airlines rebounding with such resilience after the turbulent times brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Our commitment to innovation and adaptability has been pivotal in this journey,” said van der Ham.

This remarkable growth in passenger capacity and improved load factor is a testament to our team’s dedication and hard work and the unwavering trust of our passengers.”

For the third and fourth quarters of 2023, the group expects to register approximately 95 percent capacity in ASK to 128.69 million, a 13 percent increase from the 114.26 million registered in 2022. In Africa, the ASK is expected to rise to 14.74 million up from 13.14 million registered in 2022.

With increased passenger traffic, the group saw its net income for the review period grow by 88 percent to Ksh96.04 billion from Ksh51 billion registered within the same period in 2022. The revenues from ordinary activities went up 14 percent to Ksh1.19 trillion driven by a higher capacity (+8 percent), a higher passenger load factor (+3 points), and a higher passenger yield (+9 percent).

“In spite of the inflationary context, we posted double-digit growth in our revenues and a record operating margin. The rollout of new award-winning products across our airlines continued unabated, which serves as a testament to the commitment of our employees, whom I would like to thank,” he said.

He said moving into 2023, the group seeks to enhance its transformation efforts including fleet renewal and spending optimisation to compensate for the inflationary pressure on cost. This will see it decrease its unit cost in the period 2024-2026 year over year against a constant fuel price.