(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- Within the last week, the three U.S rating agencies each assigned A ratings for Miami Dade County Aviation Department 2012A and 2012B revenue bonds, enabling the Department to refinance up to $910 million in debt for Miami International Airports capital improvement program at lower interest rates that will net more than $6 million in savings per year. Most notably, MIA was among only 14 percent of all U.S. bond issuers that had their bond ratings upgraded this year.
Standard & Poor's upgraded MIA's bond rating from an "A-" to an "A" and gave the airport a stable rating outlook. Fitch Ratings affirmed its "A" rating for MIA and revised its outlook to "stable" from "negative." Moody's Investor Service affirmed its "A2" rating of the airport's bonds and maintained its stable outlook.
According to Standard & Poor's credit analyst Joseph Pezzimenti, "The upgrade reflects our view of MIA's size and niche market dominance as a U.S. gateway airport to Latin America and strong commitment to the Miami market from American Airlines, favorable enplanement trends, little to no future debt needs with the completion of its large capital improvement program, and steady financial performance."
Regarding Fitch Ratings' revision to stable from negative, the agency's press release states, "The stable outlook reflects the improving performance of traffic activity at MIA as well as a stabilizing long-term cost profile to airlines that follows the completion phases of its $6.5 billion terminal redevelopment capital program. Although AMR/American Airlines has remained in bankruptcy since late 2011, service levels and passenger traffic at MIA continues to exhibit robust growth, evidenced by an expected enplanement increase in excess of 5% for fiscal 2012 (ending Sept. 30)"
Lastly, Moody's notes that "the rating and outlook are based on the airport's strong growth in passenger enplanements and competitive position in developing Latin American and Caribbean markets; improving liquidity; a full residual airline agreement that ensures 100% cost recovery; and a nearly completed, debt-financed capital improvement program that will result in above-average airline costs when fully rate-based.'
"The favorable ratings by all three agencies reinforce MIA's position as the largest Latin American and Caribbean gateway in the Western Hemisphere and one of the top two international gateways to the U.S.," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. "In the midst of a challenging national economy, MIA continues to become more cost-effective for our airlines and remains our top economic engine."