Ratings Agencies Reaffirm Confidence In Washington Airports Authority

Published: September 11, 2003


The nation's three major financial rating agencies recently assigned new ratings to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Fitch, Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's each rated the Authority in conjunction with the issuance of $431.7 million 2003 Airport System Revenue Bonds Series 2003, which closed on October 1st of this year.

Fitch assigned an AA- rating and a Stable Outlook. Moody's rated the Authority Aa3 with negative outlook, based upon the aviation impacts of the events of September 11, 2001. Standard & Poor's assigned a rating of A+ with a Stable Outlook.

"These ratings demonstrate the confidence the financial industry has toward the operation of the Dulles and Reagan National airports," said James E. Bennett, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. "Each agency pointed to our solid financial management and experienced senior management, as well as the strong air service market in the region to account for the positive ratings during this difficult time in aviation. We owe this reputation in large part to the leadership of our Board of Directors and the widespread support of our local community and businesses."

The ratings agencies generally base airport credit ratings on a broad range of criteria, including historic and projected air traffic demand, strength of the local economy, airline finances that serve the airport and the financial management of the airports. These ratings assigned to the Airports Authority bonds reflect the organization's capacity to meet the financial commitment on its debt obligations.

The Airports Authority, which operates both Ronald Reagan Washington National and Washington Dulles International Airports, currently has over $2 billion in outstanding debt that was used to renovate National and expand Dulles Airports. The new bonds will be used to refinance outstanding bonds and construct new passenger and airline facilities.

The Airports Authority is self-supporting, using aircraft landing fees and revenues from concessions to fund operating expenses. The Authority is not taxpayer-funded. Bonds issued by the Authority, Federal and State Airport Improvement Program funds, and Passenger Facility Charges fund the Capital Development Program.

A 13-member Board of Directors governs the Airports Authority with five members appointed by the Governor of Virginia, three by the Mayor of the District of Columbia, two by the Governor of Maryland and three by the President of the United States. The Authority operates the two-airport system under a lease with the federal government, which was originally a 50-year lease beginning in 1987 and was recently extended an additional 30 years to 2067.

The information furnished herein is not in connection with the sale or offer for sale of or solicitation of an offer to buy any securities.