MIA bonds earn upgraded outlooks from top ratings agencies
Fitch, KBRA and S&P each now score airport outlook as stable
On August 3, Fitch Ratings upgraded its outlook for Miami International Airport’s general aviation revenue bonds (GARBs) from negative to stable, making it the third top rating agency this year to improve the airport’s outlook because of its rapid recovery from the pandemic. In May, Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) also improved MIA’s bond rating outlook from negative to stable, following Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings (S&P) doing the same in April. The rating agencies also upgraded the outlook for PortMiami’s general revenue bonds from negative to stable.
The strong financial health of our community’s leading economic engines, as affirmed by several bond rating agencies, is extremely encouraging news. Their safe increase in passenger and cargo traffic this year continues to pay dividends for our local tourism industry, small businesses and job market – while we work as hard as ever to slow the spread and protect our community, to continue supporting a strong economic recovery. Congratulations to the MIA and PortMiami teams for successfully steering our two global gateways back to growth and financial stability.
In its ratings report of 18 large U.S. airports last week, Fitch noted that the airports with outlooks upgraded to stable reflected “the diminished operational and financial risks that have challenged airports since early 2020 due to a combination of improving passenger volumes in recent months, the effective management oversight of budgets, and the financial relief accommodated by federal aid that appear to mitigate revenue impairments.”
KBRA based MIA’s revised rating and outlook on “a pattern of recovering airport passenger activity, as the national economic re-opening proceeds, vaccination distribution increases, and travelling public confidence levels grow.”
We view the business conditions and landscape for U.S. transportation infrastructure issuers as markedly improved since the beginning of the year. Specifically, we believe current positive trends - combined with substantial amounts of federal grants to the transit and airport sectors - have reduced the likelihood of weakened credit quality among the issuers that we rate.
At five million international passengers through June, MIA is America’s busiest airport for international travelers halfway through 2021. MIA has also served 10.6 million domestic passengers through June, which was down only 12 percent compared to its 2019 number during the same time frame. At 15.6 million total travelers midway through 2021, MIA is on pace to finish the year only 25 percent below its 2019 passenger count.
We are pleased to see the rating agencies recognize our recovery efforts with these improved financial outlooks. Our economic stability would not be possible without the support of our airlines, business partners and federal agencies, so we thank them for their continued partnership.