Medians of financial and operational metrics based on 2011 data for the U.S. airport sector reflect the stabilization or modest improvement in air travel demand for most airports it rates following the Great Recession, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said in a report.

"We believe larger airports have better credit quality than their smaller counterparts, but airports of all sizes continue to face the side effects of airline consolidation and rightsizing efforts, as well as the higher fuel costs and a weak recovery," Standard & Poor's credit analyst Joseph Pezzimenti said in the report, entitled "2013 U.S. Airport Medians Report: The Slow Ascent From The Recession Continues."

The future could hold some risks for airports' financial metrics, however, as the still slow and uneven economic recovery continues to limit passenger traffic growth. Standard & Poor's bases its ratings on publically available criteria explaining evaluative measure of airports' financial and operational ratio analysis as well as other factors, such as exposure to industry risks, competitive and market position, bond provisions, regulation, management, and capital planning. It calculates financial and operational ratio medians in various ways to make peer comparisons possible.

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