IATA: Lufthansa puts profits focus on in-house units

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Turning around the loss-making parts of Lufthansa group's business is "priority number one", rather than seeking new acquisition opportunities, says chief executive Christoph Franz, as the German flag carrier adapts its strategy to compete with the changing economic and competitive headwinds.

Citing Lufthansa's changing market environment as a result of Europe's sluggish economies, high fuel prices, as well as the rising competition from low-cost airlines and the Gulf carriers, Franz says the German flag carrier has adapted its strategy from that pursued by his predecessor, Wolfgang Mayrhuber.

"If we are confronted with part of the Lufthansa group being in a loss-making situation, we have to ask ourselves can we turn around this business. That is always priority number one," says Franz.

"And if we are not able to do this in a foreseeable time period then we should consider reshaping or changing the business model, as we have with our non-hub services, or even divest or close down if necessary, for example with Lufthansa Italia."

Franz says that for the moment, further acquisitions are "clearly not our priority. Our priority is to take action inside Lufthansa and we have framed this with our Score [cost saving] programme."

With regard to the Star Alliance airline's 45% shareholding in Belgian carrier Brussels Airlines, Franz says that there will not be any early decision about taking up its option to take a majority stake. "We consider Brussels Airlines as part of the Lufthansa group and this [majority shareholding move] is not necessary for the next years," he says.

"What is really necessary for the airline is to pursue its own turnaround programme in a successful way in order to show positive results."