Fitch publishes updated airport rating criteria

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NEW YORK, NY – Fitch Ratings has published an updated criteria report titled ‘Rating Criteria for Airports’. The updated report contains no material revisions from the prior report of the same name, just adjustments for language conformity in some sections.

“Across the Fitch-rated airport portfolio, ratings generally range from the low end of the ‘AA’ category to the ‘BB’ category, with the vast majority in the investment-grade ‘A’ or ‘BBB’ categories,” said Seth Lehman, Senior Director.

“With the airport business geographically concentrated and subject to jurisdictional or legal factors that affect underlying credit, Fitch is unlikely to rate an airport above the ‘AA’ category.”

Airports in the ‘AA’ category largely serve major markets, have low historical demand volatility, rank stronger across the revenue and debt structure, and have strong credit metrics.

Airports in the ‘A’ category likely serve midsize to large markets, have low to moderate demand volatility, a mix of stronger revenue risk rankings offset by weaker debt structure or debt service rankings, and some midrange revenue risk rankings with stronger debt structure and credit metrics.

Airports in the ‘BBB’ category generally serve smaller markets or markets with more volatile passenger volumes, and have midrange revenue risk rankings with some weaker ones, including airports that serve large or major markets but have significant leverage and financial risk.

Airports in the ‘BB’ category and below will typically serve small markets with demonstrated volatility with a passenger base that is highly correlated with a particular industry or type of traveler. Revenue risk rankings will be weak, with midrange debt structure and credit metrics.