Lufthansa CEO says summer freight business fails to pick up -paper

FRANKFURT, Sept 1 Sun Sep 1, 2013 8:50am EDT

FRANKFURT, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Lufthansa's air freight business failed to pick up over the summer period although overall business was "decent", Chief Executive Christoph Franz told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

"We had hoped for an stronger improvement in the air freight business. This didn't happen," Franz told the paper, blaming continued overcapacity in the sector and competition from land and sea freight.

He did not elaborate on what he meant by decent.

Asked whether Lufthansa had any plans for growth through acquisitions, Franz reiterated this was not a priority, adding that the airline was still focused on improving the performance of the previous acquisitions of Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Swiss.

Lufthansa had more homework to do before it could consider further steps, Franz said.

"We want to further improve our financial strength, so that we are ready if a strategic opportunity comes along," Franz told the paper.

Separately, German weekly Der Spiegel said Lufthansa planned to cut costs by renegotiating its pension payment contracts for around 60,000 German employees.

A Lufthansa spokesman declined to comment in detail on the report, saying: "This week employees will be informed." (Reporting by Till Weber; writing by Edward Taylor; editing by David Evans)

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