Road Warrior: Airfares and hotel prices on the rise

Pilots agree to new Air France low-cost airline as automated planes become a reality

Airlines looking up: The highest airfare rises will be in eastern Europe (7.1 per cent) while the lowest increases will be found in the US at 2.3 per cent. Photograph: Getty

Increases in airfares and hotel prices

According to the 2018 Global Travel Forecast by the Global Business Travel Association with Carlson Wagonlit, airfares and hotel prices are due to rise sharply next year. Airfares are expected to rise by 3.5 per cent while hotel prices go up 3.7 per cent. The increased pricing is a reflection of stronger economies, demand and rising oil prices, according to the report. The highest airfare rises will be in eastern Europe (7.1 per cent) and western Europe (5.5 per cent), while the lowest increases will be found in the United States at 2.3 per cent.

Hotel room price rises are expected to be strong in Europe with rooms in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) expected to rise by 6.6 per cent. Norway will host the most significant rises at 14 per cent and Russian hoteliers will benefit from the World Cup with 11.9 per cent rises.

Across the Asia-Pacific region prices are likely to rise, except in Japan where a fall of 4.1 per cent is expected. Prices are also expected to fall in the Caribbean and Latin America. In North America hoteliers will be banking on economic growth as demand has levelled off since mid-summer 2016.

Pilots agree to Air France starting new airline

Pilots at Air France have agreed to support the company's plans to establish a new low-cost airline. Pilots in the SNPL union voted by a 78 per cent majority for the agreement. Establishing the Boost brand will involve recruiting 250 pilots. The establishment of the new airline is to counter the competition from low-cost carriers such as WOW and Norwegian. Lufthansa offers low-cost flights through Eurowings and British Airways parent IAG launched Level for low cost routes last year. The deal also includes efforts to increase productivity by around €40 million annually across Air France's operations, as part of the group's Trust Together programme. Cabin crew have also voted positively for a new collective agreement.

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Using Concur for expense management of Airbnb

Employees of companies using Concur expense management systems will soon be able to book Airbnb accommodation, if the company has chosen to work with Airbnb. Users will be transferred to the Airbnb site to browse available properties for their trip. Once booking is completed they will be returned to the Concur site and their travel itinerary will be populated and the expenses involved added to their future claims. Figures released by Concur last November showed that 15 per cent of all nights booked on Airbnb are for business travel.

Look, no hands

Driverless cars are well on the way and they are shortly to be followed by pilotless aircraft. Airbus has successfully tested a new type of jet aircraft that could speed up the development of unmanned flight. The unmanned aircraft flew by itself for seven minutes over a test site in Overberg, South Africa. It used automated takeoff and landing capabilities. Head of engineering at Airbus Grazia Vittadini said, "We are increasingly shifting focus towards the development of UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles], to develop products quickly and efficiently."

jscales@irishtimes.com