Cites very strong management and governance, passenger growth, and high liquidity
January 17, 2023 – Warwick, RI – S&P Global Ratings announced that it has raised its long-term rating and underlying rating for the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) to ‘A’ from ‘A-‘ with a stable outlook on Rhode Island Commerce Corp.’s general airport revenue bonds. The ratings report noted that RIAC projects further strong passenger growth in 2023, which are expected to bring enplanements back to pre-pandemic levels in the summer of 2023 based on recently announced route expansions by airlines serving its main airport, Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport (PVD). The report cited PVD’s likely to return to near pre-pandemic levels in their assessment of the airport’s improved market position assessment and strong enterprise risk profile.
S&P Global Ratings noted that PVD entered the pandemic operationally and financially strong, with traffic at approximately 2 million enplaned passengers, and strong debt service coverage (DSC) and overall liquidity levels. Over the past 12 months, PVD’s monthly enplaned passengers have climbed back to about 80% of 2019 pre-pandemic levels.
Key credit strengths cited by S&P include RIAC’s:
- Very strong liquidity and financial flexibility, with several years of rising liquidity levels, reaching $85.5 million in unrestricted cash and equivalents at fiscal year-end 2022;
- Very strong management and governance, with a good track record of operating the major lines of business and managing risk, as evidenced by high liquidity, conservative budgeting, and meeting financial targets; and
- Very strong debt and liability capacity, with a manageable capital improvement plan and no additional debt needs in the near term.
“This rating upgrade is welcome news, affirming the current and long-term fiscal health of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation,” said Jonathan Savage, chair of RIAC’s Board of Directors. “RIAC, and all our airports, including Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport, are integral economic drivers for the state economy.”
“RIAC’s strong long-term financial standing and outlook is a testament to the diligent work of all at the airport corporation, as well as the tireless support of our important mission by Rhode Island’s leadership,” said Iftikhar Ahmad, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation. “Thanks to the Governor, Congressional delegation, and General Assembly, Rhode Island’s aviation related economy has been able to emerge from the pandemic on a strong fiscal foundation.”
About the Rhode Island Airport Corporation: The Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) was formed on December 9, 1992 as a semi-autonomous subsidiary of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation to operate and maintain the state’s airport system. The powers of the corporation are vested in its seven-member board of directors, all of whom are appointed by the governor. RIAC is responsible for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the six state-owned airports; and the supervision of all civil airports, landing areas, navigation facilities, aviation schools and flying clubs. In addition to Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport, RIAC is responsible for five general aviation airports throughout the state: Block Island, Newport, North Central, Quonset and Westerly. For more information visit RIAC at https://www.flyri.com.