Fitch Ratings last week affirmed its underlying A-plus rating on $99.5 million of Albuquerque’s outstanding senior-lien airport revenue bonds and the underlying A-rating on $38.5 million of outstanding subordinate-lien revenue bonds. Both ratings on the Sunport facility have stable outlooks.
“While the airport’s origin and destination traffic base provides a relatively stable base of service, the airport is susceptible to both the changes in passenger demand that are largely based on economic conditions and to the scheduling decisions of Southwest Airlines that continues to account for the majority of Sunport’s enplanements,” noted analyst Tanya Langman. “The carrier has grown from 50.6% of the market share in fiscal year 2008 to 55.5% in fiscal 2010.”
Between fiscal 2005 and 2010, enplanements fell at a rate of 1.9%. In fiscal 2010 they decreased by 3.8% to 2.9 million, compared to fiscal 2009, which saw a decline in enplanements of 11.8% over the previous year.
“These decreases were largely due to airline responses to the economic downturn, including reduction in flights, airport-wide fare increases and downgauging of aircraft by mainline carriers serving the airport,” Langman wrote. “Going forward, management anticipates no enplanement growth for fiscal 2011, followed by annual growth of 2.6%-3% per year through fiscal 2015 as airlines gradually restore flight frequencies.”
Sunport’s capital program through 2016 calls for $127 million in capital improvements, with 58% of the costs associated with airfield projects, including rehabilitation of taxiways and terminal apron. Other projects focus on terminal building modernization and building reroofing, as well as investments in infrastructure at the reliever airport, Double Eagle II.
Standard & Poor’s in June affirmed its A-plus rating on the senior-lien revenue bonds. Moody’s rates the debt Aa3.