Kenya Airways shareholders approved on Friday its plan for a rights issue to raise an unspecified amount of money to fund route and fleet expansion.

Kenya Airways, 26 percent owned by Air France-KLM, aims to double its fleet within five years, part of a 10-year plan aimed at extending its network to every African nation.

The rights issue is critical to the growth and expansion plans of the airline, Kenya Airways Chairman Evanson Mwaniki said in a statement after its annual general meeting.

One of Africa's leading carriers, it said in September that it plans to double its authorised share capital to 10 billion Kenyan shillings ahead of the cash call. The additional share capital was also approved at the meeting.

The rights issue is awaiting approval from the Capital Markets Authority. Market participants said they expected the rights issue to start as early as November.

Kenya Airways shares closed down 4.67 percent at 25.5 shillings on Friday. The Nairobi Stock Exchange's NSE-20 Share Index was down 0.41 percent at 3277.50

The airline said the Kenyan government and Air France-KLM, both major shareholders, had confirmed they would take up their rights once the process was approved.