Fitch rates airport bonds ‘A-’ and awards stable outlook

JACKSON — Fitch Ratings has affirmed Jackson Municipal Airport Authority’s outstanding $42.1 million airport revenue and refunding bonds at “A-.” The Rating Outlook remains “stable.”

Fitch wrote: “Traffic is currently similar to levels prior to Hurricane Katrina where the airport served evacuees and recovery efforts following declines over the past five consecutive years. Stability is expected, as noted by a 1.3 percent increase for fiscal year to date 2012.

“The airport operates under a hybrid use and lease agreement with monthly extensions and cancellations permitted with 30-days written notice. Cost per enplanement (CPE) is elevated among airports similar to its size at $9.05, but the authority maintains pricing flexibility given that there is no significant regional competition.

“The authority has a solid financial profile with debt service coverage in fiscal 2011 at 2.31 times (x) per bond ordinance. Debt burden is modest with debt per enplanement in fiscal 2011 at $70.72 and is lowly leveraged at 3.79x net debt to cash flow available for debt service (CFADS). The airport also has a strong liquidity position with $14.7 million of unrestricted cash and $3.1 million of O&M reserve, equivalent to 507 days cash on hand.”

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