German carrier Lufthansa has said it would only enter into any partnerships with Gulf carriers from a position of strength, justifying plans to widen a cost-cutting drive that helped it post higher-than-expected quarterly profits, Reuters has reported. "Air France and Air Berlin have entered these partnerships from a position of weakness," Lufthansa chief executive Christoph Franz said. "The Gulf carriers are joining the global alliances for the first time. This significant change in strategy sees [them] increasingly also acting as an engine of consolidation in the aviation industry. We welcome further consolidation and we will, where it is purposeful and possible, actively participate - but only if it is possible on equal terms," he said.