Press Release|Public Finance

KBRA Affirms A+ Rating for Chicago O'Hare International Airport General Airport Senior Lien Revenue Bonds; Outlook is Stable

17 Aug 2023   |   New York


KBRA affirms A+ rating with Stable Outlook for Chicago O'Hare International Airport General Airport Senior Lien Revenue Bonds.

Key Credit Considerations

The rating was affirmed because of the following key considerations:

Credit Positives

  • Strong, diverse, expansive air trade area supports O&D activity that forms the basis for hubbing.
  • ORD is a major connecting hub for United and American Airlines, and the only dual airline hub in the U.S. The stable airline base contributes to competitive pricing and favorable scheduling with ORD’s major domestic markets.
  • High airline costs are tempered by profitable airline operations. The completed OMP has reduced delays and improved airfield capacity, and KBRA expects that the TAP Program and other capital improvements will have a similar beneficial effect on terminal facilities.

Credit Challenges

  • High leverage levels for ORD’s outstanding general airport revenue bond (GARB) debt.
  • Significant future debt issuance expected throughout the current decade, which will further elevate debt metrics, while large-scale capital program entails construction risk.

Rating Sensitivities

For Upgrade

  • More consistent pattern of enplanement growth.
  • A higher proportion of total operating revenues from non-airline concession activity.

For Downgrade

  • Reduction/elimination of hubbing operations by American or United Airlines.
  • Significant deterioration in debt metrics reflecting debt issuance beyond levels currently disclosed.

To access rating and relevant documents, click here.


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