TEXT-Fitch: American Airlines, US Airways merger is credit neutral to Latin American Airports

Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:34am EST

Feb 19 - The merger announcement of two of the largest North American air
carriers, American Airlines and US Airways, is not likely to adversely affect
Latin American and Caribbean rated airports, according to Fitch.

Fitch considers the merger, even if causing future changes and reductions to
frequencies, is unlikely to negatively impact the Latin American rated airports'
projected traffic performance and/or revenues.

With respect to the Caribbean airports, "both airlines serve different
destinations and market sources, and present limited or no overlapping on their
routes. Fitch envisages no credit implications to rated airports at this point
in time", says Omar Valdez, AD at Fitch.

Current market participation of American Airlines and US Airways in Latin
American rated airports is low when compared to other carriers servicing
international routes. According to the most recent information provided to Fitch
by issuers, current frequencies are expected to remain constant in the Latin
America region, while the addition of new routes is anticipated.

In Caribbean airports rated by Fitch, however, the two airlines have a greater
participation, where the average dependency on US passengers is calculated at
71%. Positively, market diversification at these airports is adequate, with no
single air carrier enplaning above 20% of international seat capacity.

In addition, Fitch believes that any possible unattended demand could be readily
absorbed by other carriers, as Caribbean airports benefit from an established
tourist base with steady enplanements, and an ample air carrier diversification.

Overall current passenger traffic in the region continues to grow steadily, in
line with our 2013 Outlook expectations, and providing for better prospects with
respect to air traffic volumes going forward.

Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'.
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