18-Dec-2009 8:24 AM

Fitch Ratings: Stability in US transportation sector expected in 2010

Fitch Ratings stated (17-Dec-2009) it expects a move towards stability for the US transportation sector in 2010, but added that a rebound in performance and credit quality will experience "some roadblocks". Fitch stated US airports have experienced "one of the longest and deepest passenger declines in the last two decades as passengers and airlines have been hit by a confluence of events". Most airports have responded to this "stress" through cost cutting measures, utilising the balance sheet to ease the growth in airline use and lease payments and deferring capital spending. While management actions have mitigated the impact of the downturn, Fitch believes that business and leisure travelers still remain sensitive to price increases and industry consolidation remains a risk. While the decline in passenger volume appears to be bottoming out, the impact of price increases and/or consolidation could spell further changes for some airports, according to Fitch, meaning that the US airport industry, and thus credit quality "remains in a state of flux". [more]

Fitch Ratings: "Transportation credits should see more stability in 2010, with airports likely to experience the most pressure due to consistent high unemployment in the U.S. and travel demand far from pre-recession levels," Mike McDermott, Managing Director. Source: Company Statement, 17-Dec-2009.

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