AmEx sees higher air fares, low hotel rates in '10

NEW YORK, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Reduced supply and pent-up demand for travel will be "unleashed" in 2010 and could cause a slight uptick in the price of hotel stays and flights worldwide by the end of next year, American Express Co AXP.N said on Wednesday.

In 2010, the cost of an economy flight is expected to stay flat or rise as much as 5 percent, compared with 2009 prices, the company said in its Global Business Travel Forecast.

The global average of business-class air fares could rise between 1 percent and 6 percent.

Rates for the world’s mid-range hotels could fall 3 percent, or rise 2 percent, while upper-range hotels could see a 4 percent fall in room prices, or enjoy a 1 percent bump up.

But hotel rates in North America are expected to fall next year, AmEx said. Upper-range hotels will continue to suffer and are expected to see as much as a 6 percent decline in prices.

Air fares in the United States and Canada for economy-class flights are expected to jump between 2 percent and 7 percent, while business-class routes could see a 1 percent to 6 percent increase. (Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman; editing by Andre Grenon)