TEXT-Fitch affirms Port of Seattle, Wash. revs at 'A'
Nov 15 - Fitch Ratings has affirmed the following outstanding Port of Seattle, WA bonds: --$167.4 million in passenger facility charge (PFC) revenue bonds at 'A'. The Rating Outlook is Stable. KEY RATING DRIVERS --Substantial Enplanement Base: The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is the primary regional air passenger service provider with a virtual monopoly in the Seattle area (73% origination and destination). Enplanements have been historically resilient, with declines registered in only three years since 1998. In 2011, enplanements grew 4% and year to date enplanements through September 2012 are up 1.5% over the same period in 2011. --PFC Revenue Stream Is Narrow: The PFC revenue stream is narrow with limited flexibility and represents the primary risk related to these bonds. --Solid Debt Service Coverage Levels: 2011 PFC collection levels generated solid debt service coverage of 3.3x and nearly 3.1x coverage of maximum annual Ddbt service (MADS). Coverage is expected to remain similarly strong in 2012. Fitch notes there are no current plans to further leverage the revenue stream. WHAT COULD TRIGGER A RATING ACTION: --Lower PFC coverage levels as a result of additional leveraging or declining trends in PFC receipts could place pressure at the current rating level. SECURITY: The PFC revenue bonds are solely secured by a first lien on PFC revenues with a final maturity in 2023. CREDIT UPDATE: In 2011, enplanements grew 4% and year to date (through September 2012), enplanements are up 1.5%. The port expects 2012 to end with a 1.5% enplanement growth and 2.2% enplanement growth is forecast for 2013. Historical traffic resilience is evidenced by enplanement declines in only three years since 1998, most recently in 2009 at 3%. The airport enjoys a strong O&D base (approximately 73%) and its domestic travelers comprised 91% of enplanements in 2011. PFC revenues for fiscal 2011, generated by the $4.50 fee assessed on passengers, resulted in DSCR of 3.3x. MADS coverage based on 2011 PFC revenues (without interest earnings) was similarly strong at 3.1x. Based on the airport's traffic and PFC collection forecast, coverage levels on this lien are mainly expected to remain above 3x through the term of the debt, provided no additional PFC revenue bond issuances. The PFC bonds have a final maturity in 2023. Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'. The ratings above were solicited by, or on behalf of, the issuer, and therefore, Fitch has been compensated for the provision of the ratings. Applicable Criteria and