EL PASO, TX – El Paso City International Airport (ELP) announced that Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Global Ratings has upgraded the air terminal’s revenue bonds to an “A+” rating, increasing the Department of Aviation’s rating outlook status to strong.
Some of the factors that influenced the positive outlook upgrade include strong management and governance, reflecting an effective and experienced management team to ensure the airport’s consistent financial and operational performance.
Also noted was a strong long-term planning framework, frequent budget monitoring and a willingness to make annual adjustments; in addition to the recovery of passenger numbers to near pre-pandemic levels.
“The improved bond rating reflects the strong financial health of the city. We have made significant improvements in our financial policies based on best practices and long-term planning by city staff,” said City Manager Tommy Gonzalez.
“We are very pleased with this report as it confirms that the diligence of the City’s leadership during the pandemic has paid off,” stated El Paso Aviation Director Sam Rodriguez.
According to S&P Global, the year-to-date (9 months to September 30, 2022) recovery in the number of passengers boarded at the airport to nearly 94% of pre-pandemic levels and the likely steady rebound following the onset of the pandemic, support the improvement in the overall market position.
The airport recovery is in line with S&P Global Ratings’ updated benchmark activity estimates for the airport sector.
For the past several decades, through 2018, the City had zero dollars designated in the annual operating budget for street maintenance projects, police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, facility improvements and park services. The City’s long-standing practice prior to 2018 was to use debt for these purchases.
Since 2018, the City now includes these purchases in the annual operating budget, which has saved the City nearly $50 million in financing costs.