NAIROBI, July 25 (Reuters) - Kenya Airways carried a total number of passengers in its first quarter ended June similar to that in the same period last year, as a drop in its European routes was offset by growth in its African destinations.
The airline, which is 26.73 percent owned by Air France-KLM and 29.8 percent by the government, is ranked among the largest carriers in sub-Saharan Africa, alongside South African Airways and Ethiopian Airlines.
It carried a total of 841,238 passengers while the cabin factor was down at 65.5 percent, it said in a statement. It did not say what the cabin factor was in the same period last year.
It cut the capacity on European routes by almost 20 percent after the protracted euro zone crisis began to bite, it said.
"Passenger uplift to Europe at 89,852 was a reduction on last year's level of 108,835 following the 18.8 percent capacity reduction," the airline said in the statement.
Passengers hauled to the far and near east was unchanged while those carried to African destinations rose by 2.9 percent on the back of strong growth in routes like Juba, South Sudan.
Domestic travellers fell 1.4 percent mainly due to the airline's move to replace the Boeing 737 planes it used on the busy route to the coastal city of Mombasa with the smaller Embraer E190.
Tonnes of cargo hauled during the period fell by 3.9 percent, Kenya Airways said.
"Exports from Kenya dropped on account of unfavourable weather patterns in April and market capacity. Volumes from Europe shrunk reflecting the volatile economic conditions," it said.
Its management promised to cut costs this year after steep costs of oil hurt its bottom line during its full year ended last March. (Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by George Obulutsa and James Jukwey)