Kenya Airways reported an 8.9 percent rise in passenger volumes in the final quarter of 2010 after introducing new routes and more frequent flights to Juba in south Sudan.

Passenger numbers rose to 829,000 in the October-December period, its fiscal third quarter.

Uptake of total production at 2,333 million revenue passenger kilometres represents a 8.9 percent growth, it said.

The load factor, a measure of seats sold, rose to 69.8 percent from 67.8 percent in the 2009 period.

The Northern Africa region grew by 16.9 percent in capacity owing to the introduction of flights into Juba in southern Sudan on the Embraer aircraft and Djibouti.

The improved passenger numbers reflect a better performance for KQ this financial year, which the share price is likely to rally on, said Victor Odendo, an analyst at Apex Africa Capital.

Kenya Airways said the number of passengers ferried to Europe grew 5.4 percent to 102,493.

The airline, which is 26 percent owned by France-KLM, said the amount of cargo it carried was barely changed on the previous year at 15,195 tonnes for the three months due to capacity restraints on its narrow-body aircraft.

The airline said earlier this month it planned expansion this year on its African routes, which will involve acquiring five new aircraft