(St. Louis – Aug. 8, 2018) Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded airport revenue bonds for St. Louis City to A2, from A3, and Outlook to Stable. Moody’s cited the upgrade based on St. Louis Lambert International Airport’s (STL) “positive trajectory of credit metrics such as liquidity, declining leverage and enplanement growth.”
“This credit upgrade shows the continuing confidence that Moody’s has in our management team at St. Louis Lambert International Airport,” said St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green. “The airport is in a strong financial position showing nearly three years of passenger growth, three credit upgrades and added domestic and international flights.”
“STL’s rating upgrade reflects a continuous strategic focus on improving air service options for the St. Louis region, which has led to new routes and growth in connecting traffic,” said STL Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge. “That growth, coupled with increasingly competitive operational costs, has really given the Airport great momentum in improving our financial sustainability.”
Moody’s upgrade effects approximately $657 million in rated debt with Moody’s citing that debt service will incrementally improve over the near term with STL’s declining cost structure and positive enplanement trend driving increasingly competitive cost per enplanement (CPE). The upgrade was further bolstered by rapid growth in connecting enplanements, new routes and increased flight frequencies and growth in passenger seats to the market.
For FY2018, ending in June 2018, the airport served 15,133,683 total passengers, a 5.4 percent increase over FY2017. As a whole, STL recorded a 29 percent increase in connecting enplanements for FY2018. FY2017 CPE for STL was $11.10, down from $11.89 in FY2016, or a decrease of 6.6 percent. Final FY2018 CPE statistics are still pending, but the Airport initially set the rate at $9.90.
Moody’s cited that STL’s new service on WOW air, with international service to Reykjavik, Iceland, and Southwest Airlines continued expansion of flights are performing better than initial expectations and is expected to contribute 2-3 percent year-over-year increase on O&D (local, originating passengers) enplanements.
In the first six months of CY2018, STL has served more than 7.5 million passengers, an increase of more than 403,000 passengers or 5.6 percent. The Airport has now recorded 34 straight months of passenger growth.
Comptroller Darlene Green is the chief fiscal officer of the City of St. Louis and is charged with safeguarding the city’s credit rating and with protecting taxpayer dollars. Visit www.stlouis-mo.gov/comptroller to learn more about the Office of the Comptroller.
St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) is the primary commercial airport for eastern Missouri and southern Illinois serving more than 15 million passengers annually. STL is an Enterprise Fund Department of the City of St. Louis. It is wholly supported by airport user charges. No general fund revenues are used for the operation, administration, promotion or maintenance of airport facilities. For more information on flights and services at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, log onto www.flystl.com.