Moody’s Investors Service Monday upgraded to Aa3 from A1 the revenue bond rating for the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
The action affects $547.3 million of outstanding revenue bonds rated by Moody’s. The outlook is stable.
“The rating is based on the airport’s extraordinary financial operations in spite of the national economic recession, resilient enplanement levels, and the strength of the local demand for air travel,” according to analyst Kurt Krummenacker.
“The upgrade also recognizes management’s conservative approach to financing that has built strengths to offset key credit risks,” Krummenacker said. “The strength and consistency of strong financial performance, especially in the challenged economic environment, offset the airport’s primary credit risk of reductions to US Airways connecting operations at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.”
Krummenacker said Moody’s continues to view the Charlotte Douglas airport’s position as a hub for US Airways as a concern because of the 89.8% enplanement concentration in the airline and its low credit strength.
“However, as the airline’s largest hub, Charlotte has benefited from growth in connecting traffic during the downturn as the airline brought capacity to the airport at the expense of smaller markets,” the analyst said.
Enplanement growth continued to be strong in fiscal 2011, with 11.2% growth.
The upgrade came in conjunction with a review of the airport’s upcoming sale of $146 million of revenue bonds, which are expected to price later this month, according to Moody’s.
The agency also assigned the Aa3 rating to the 2011 revenue bond sale.
Bond proceeds will be used to partially fund a parking deck facility, rehabilitate a runway, expand a terminal, and for other terminal and airfield projects.
Moody’s also assigned an A3 to the upcoming sale of $61.26 million of airport special facilities revenue bonds planned later this month.
The proceeds from the taxable contract facility-charge airport revenue bonds will finance a new consolidated rental car facility across from the existing passenger terminal.
No other ratings for the upcoming bond offerings were available at press time.
Currently, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s both rate the outstanding airport revenue bonds A-plus with a stable outlook.