Bond agencies back Tampa Airport despite big shifts

TAMPA, Florida - Despite declining rental car and parking revenues related to an increase in ridesharing, Tampa International Airport got a pair of boosts to its multi-billion-dollar expansion efforts this week from national bond-rating agencies.

Both Kroll and Moody's affirmed the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority's strong bond ratings following early-August presentations by airport executives, ensuring stable and affordable interest rates in the near-future.

"We are very happy with the ratings," said airport spokesperson Janet Zink. "It validates the strength of our financial position and our careful stewardship of this important community asset."

According to Moody's, the aviation authority's "A3 rating on the (rental car revenue) backed bonds is based on the fundamental strength of the airport's service area, which has a significant tourism component and supports a robust rental car market."

Moody's continued: "the rating is further supported by the recent debt service coverage ratios which have exceeded projections due to solid collections and lower cost of debt than originally expected."

The airport has grown its passenger enplanements numbers to over 10 million, while also growing its overall revenues every year, thanks to stronger-than-expected concession and cargo figures.

The airport missed some of the revenue estimates from its last bond presentations in 2015, and its 2017 presentation to the bond agencies did not delve into the depth of how ridesharing was negatively affecting some of its revenues.  But the bond agencies did not appeared concerned about those specific items.

The final bond ratings, from Standard & Poor's (S&P), are expected next month.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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