February 8, 2019 / 6:35 AM / a year ago

Air France KLM January passenger numbers rise 1.5 pct on year

PARIS, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Air France KLM carried around 7.4 million passengers in January, up 1.5 percent from a year earlier, although its planes were slightly less full compared to last year.

The company said its January load factor - a measure of how full are an airline's planes - stood at 85.7 percent, down from 86.5 percent last year.

Air France KLM hired Benjamin Smith as its new group chief executive in August, after devastating strikes led to his predecessor's resignation. Smith has said Air France must narrow the profitability gap with its more efficient KLM stable mate.

The French state has a 14 percent stake in Air France KLM, while Delta Airlines and China Eastern Airlines each hold an 8.8 percent stake in the group. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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