Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Colorado Springs Airport gets an A- on its finances

Standard & Poor’s Rating Services recently affirmed its “A-" rating and a stable outlook for Colorado Springs Airport Revenue Bonds, according to Gisela Shanahan, assistant director of aviation-finance & administration at the airport.

According to the report, the airport's strengths include: strong liquidity, with about $26 million in unrestricted cash and investments; diversity in air carrier service, with eight major airlines; and a solid, diverse and growing economic base supporting a large origin and destination passenger market with a moderate cost structure for a small hub airport, with a $7.12 cost per enplaned passenger and a $54 debt per enplaned passenger in fiscal 2005.

Management has countered flat revenue growth brought on by the financial distress of major network carriers such as Delta Airlines and increased enplanements by 3 percent for the first six months of 2006 despite the introduction of low-fare service by Southwest Airlines starting at Denver International Airport.

According to the report, the lower than average debt ratio and strong balance sheet with cash reserves of 709 days is noteworthy because of the recent completion of major expansion projects.

The rating acknowledges management's efforts to diversify the revenue base during a time of rising fuel prices and other cost pressures. More than 60 percent of the airports operating revenues in fiscal 2005 is derived from nonairline sources.

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