October 10 - Lufthansa Cargo says it is cautiously optimistic for the fourth quarter of 2014 and expects a seasonal upturn in demand during the Christmas period.

Its chief executive said: "Lufthansa Cargo remains on track despite a challenging market environment." His comments came as the Lufthansa Group released traffic figures for September, showing a 3.2 percent drop in freight volumes.

Lufthansa Cargo is expecting to increase operating profit slightly this year in comparison with the EUR77 million (USD97 million) it reported for 2013.

The air freight arm of Germany's largest airline, said it has invested specifically in its own network during the last quarter. Since mid-September the cargo airline has been flying an MD-11F to Lagos, Nigeria twice a week. And more new routes will be added over the coming weeks.

In addition, Lufthansa Cargo says it expects to become even more attractive for its customers on the routes between Japan and Europe thanks to a joint venture with All Nippon Airways (ANA). From December the two airlines will have combined network and a much larger choice of direct flights.