After Two Upgrades by S&P, Fitch Now Upgrades RIAC’s Revenue Bonds to ‘A-’
December 4, 2023 – Warwick, RI – Fitch Ratings has upgraded the rating on approximately $57 million of outstanding airport revenue bonds, issued by the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation on behalf of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC or the airport), to ‘A-’ from ‘BBB+’ with a rating outlook of “stable.” The full Fitch Ratings report can be viewed here.
In announcing their findings, Fitch Ratings cited several factors, including Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport’s strong balance sheet liquidity and robust financial position, a growing number of nonstop routes, lack of political interference, and competitive cost per enplanements which are expected to support stable revenue generation and a competitive airline cost profile.
“We are thankful for Fitch Ratings affirmation of RIAC’s continued strong financial standing, as well as our solid relations with airlines, aviation stakeholders, and financial partners,” said Iftikhar Ahmad, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation. “It is especially satisfying to see everyone’s hard work reflected in improved bond ratings.”
This marks the third time this year that RIAC has received a revenue bond upgrade, with S&P Global upgrading RIAC’s long-term bond rating to ‘A’ in January, as well as, upgrading its special facility bond rating from to ‘A’ in May of this year. Key credit strengths cited by S&P included RIAC’s:
• Very strong management and governance;
• Very strong liquidity and financial flexibility; and
• Very strong debt and liability capacity and a manageable capital improvement plan.
“This positive financial news reflects the efforts of those who have been investing to strengthen the long-term financial standing of the airport,” Jonathan Savage, Chair of RIAC’s Board of Directors. “As the third rating agency upgrade this year, RIAC continues to help our aviation-related economy grow and prosper which is an exceptional benefit to our state.”
Noting their rating rationale justifying the rating upgrade, Fitch also cited RIAC’s solid debt service coverage ratio, recent five-year extension of its lease and use agreement with six signatory airlines, now including Breeze Airways, which utilizes the airport as a base of operations for aircraft, corresponding flight crews, mechanics, and other support personnel, offering 15 nonstop routes from the airport.
About Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport: A convenient and low-cost gateway to New England, Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport (PVD) has a large catchment area with 7.5 million residents within 90 minutes of the airport. It attracts passengers from nearby Massachusetts and eastern Connecticut. PVD is located just outside of Providence, Rhode Island. Well known for ease of traveler access, affordable parking, and faster security lines, Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport is frequently named as one of USA TODAY’s “Readers’ Choice Best Small Airports” and has earned further distinction as a “Top Three” airport in Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best Awards”. Most recently, Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport was named one of the Top 3 Airports in the U.S. and Top Ten in the World by the Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards for 2023. More information is available at https://flyri.com/.