S&P Raises Long-term Rating on STL’s Revenue Bonds

Posted on June 06, 2019 in Media Releases

S&P Global Ratings raised its ratings on outstanding St. Louis Lambert International Airport’s revenue bonds to ‘A’ from ‘A-’ citing the airport’s strong and improved financial risk profile.

S&P also assigned its ‘A’ rating to the St. Louis City’s upcoming $97 million airport refunding and a new issuance of airport revenue bonds in 2019. The outlook for all STL ratings by S&P is stable.  

The ratings assessment noted St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) has strong origin and destination (O&D) demand, an extremely strong economic profile in STL’s service area, and “a very strong management team that has sufficiently managed risks to ensure the airport’s steady financial and operational performance.”

“The latest ratings show improved operations and financials at the Airport,” said St. Louis City Mayor Lyda Krewson. “The positives extend to an improving economic outlook for the City and St. Louis region, which supports the activity at the Airport, as well.” 

“In the past year, this airport has secured the best bond ratings in a decade and this newest bond rating upgrade further amplifies the success of our long-term focus on reducing costs, strengthening our financial sustainability and maintaining safe and efficient operations –operations that continue to expand,” said STL Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge.

S&P reported that it expects the Airport to maintain debt capacity and liquidity at levels considered very strong, even with plans to fund approximately $22 million in capital improvements with the proposed 2019 bond issuance expected to close later this month.

In the last fiscal year, STL lowered its Cost per Enplaned Passenger (CPE) to $8.87 (FY2018). The CPE five years ago in FY2013 was $13.77. The Airport surpassed 15.6 million passengers in 2018, its highest level since 2003. The Airport has experienced 44 months of month-over-month passenger growth with 2019 total passenger growth trending at a three percent increase through April.

The Airport is served by 11 scheduled commercial air carriers with peak service of 258 daily non-stop flights this year to more than 70 destinations.