Airport’s bonds have earned upgrades from all four rating agencies.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announces that Fitch Ratings upgraded its rating of Miami International Airport’s (MIA) revenue and refunding bonds from A to A+ on March 2, citing MIA’s “outperformance in enplanement recovery” and “superior franchise strength.” Fitch becomes the fourth and final rating agency to upgrade MIA’s bond rating since last July, joining Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA), Moody’s Investor Service, and Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings (S&P) in rewarding the airport for its rapid rebound from the pandemic.
“I am very proud to see that all four bond rating agencies have taken notice of MIA’s strong financial health and solid foundation for its multi-billion-dollar capital improvement program. The hard work of our Aviation Department is paying off. Thanks to the sustained growth of Miami-Dade County’s leading economic engine in both passenger and cargo traffic, our local tourism industry and economy have never been stronger” says Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
MIA had its busiest year ever in 2022, serving nearly 50.7 million passengers to shatter its previous record of 45.9 million set in 2019 by 10 percent. According to aviation analytics provider Cirium, MIA is currently the fastest-growing U.S. airport in airline seats compared to pre-pandemic levels.
“MIA surpassed its pre-pandemic traffic high by nearly 10 percent in the fiscal year 2022, and the airport’s forward-looking leverage position should remain commensurate with the ‘A+’ rating even when factoring in MIA’s long-term CIP through 2035,” Fitch analysts wrote in MIA’s rating commentary. “The rating reflects MIA’s strong position in the South Florida market for both domestic and international air service. Miami stands out as one of the nation’s strongest international gateway airports with a dominant position for Latin American and Caribbean air services.”
Last November, KBRA upgraded its long-term rating of MIA’s bonds from A+ to AA-, noting that “the upgrade was a result of MIA’s passenger volume reaching 108.5 percent of its pre-pandemic level in fiscal year 2022, its advantageous location as an international gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean, and its effectively managed capital program.”
When S&P upgraded its rating of MIA’s bonds last August from A- to A, it wrote in its rating summary that “MIA is emerging from the height of the pandemic in a position of strength relative to its large hub peers with enplanements that exceed 2019 activity. As a result, we revised the market position to very strong from strong, which returns the enterprise risk profile to the pre-pandemic assessment of very strong.”
According to Moody’s rating report last July, “The upgrade from A2 to A1 reflects the airport’s solid competitive position as a major gateway to Latin America and the airport with the largest amount of cargo transshipment by weight in the lower-48 states. MIA’s domestic and international enplanement recovery has outperformed Moody’s expectations, benefiting also from airlines Southwest, JetBlue, and Spirit that have started service from MIA.”
“We appreciate all the rating agencies for recognizing MIA’s successful recovery last year from the pandemic. Our airport-wide modernization program, funded primarily by our revenue bonds, is paving the way for MIA to better serve our growing number of passengers for decades to come” said Ralph Cutié, MIA Director and CEO.
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She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.