Fitch Ratings said it has affirmed the A rating on Lee County, Fla.'s approximately $323.8 million in outstanding airport revenue bonds issued on behalf of Southwest Florida International Airport (SWFIA or Lee County Port Authority).
The rating outlook is revised to negative from stable.
The negative outlook reflects concerns that the recent decline in enplanements will subject the authority to tighter levels of debt service coverage while leading to an increase to airline costs over time based on the airport's rate setting methodology. SWFIA's coverage ratio (including transfers) may remain at or marginally above the 1.25 times (x) rate covenant level, which is weaker than prior performance, absent an improvement in traffic trends and operating revenues.
The airport is currently reliant on a combination of imposing additional airline charges through the extraordinary coverage protection provision under the use agreement as well as passenger facility charge (PFC) transfers to satisfy the rate covenant.