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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms Aa3 on City of Charlotte (NC) Douglas International Airport Enterprise Revenue Bonds and A3 on Consolidated Car Rental Facility bonds; Outlook is Stable

Global Credit Research - 30 May 2014

The airport has a total of $673.5 million debt outstanding

New York, May 30, 2014 -- Moody's Investors Service has affirmed the Aa3 rating on the Charlotte (City of) NC Airport Enterprise airport revenue bonds (GARBs). At the same time, Moody's affirmed the A3 rating on its car rental facility (CFC) bonds. The outlook is stable. The city owns and operates Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT).

SUMMARY RATING RATIONALE

The Aa3 rating on the GARBs is based on the airport's maintenance of extraordinary financial operations through a national economic recession, growing enplanement levels, and the strength of the local demand for air travel. The airport's financial performance, particularly its cost per enplanement and liquidity levels, offset the airport's primary credit risk of reductions to American Airlines connecting operations. Based on the airport's financial position and cost structure as well as O&D demand, we believe CLT could withstand a substantial loss of connecting traffic and remain on solid financial footing.

The A3 rating on the CFC bonds is based on the airport's strong debt service coverage metrics as well as solid growth in transaction days and CFC collections, anchored by CLT's O&D market. The $4.00 CFC rate is below median, providing flexibility to raise rates if needed.

STRENGTHS

*Exceptional financial performance; FY2013's airline cost per enplaned passenger of $1.15 is one of the lowest in the industry in spite of the size of operations and liquidity has averaged over 2,300 days for the past decade

* Demand-driven capital improvement plan (CIP) keeps down costs to airlines

*Solid track record of growth in both total and O&D enplanements

*Service area economy is growing and diversified with limited competition from other airports, underpinning O&D enplanements

*CFC growth on both transaction days and collections, with construction on the facility proceeding on time and on budget

CHALLENGES

*At more than 90%, CLT's strong concentration of American Airlines Group (B1 stable) traffic makes the airport vulnerable to connecting traffic volatility, though O&D enplanements are still sizable at 5.3 million with a much less concentrated carrier base

*Significant capital needs in the next five years

*Continuing uncertainty around corporate governance issues risks diverting management attention away from operations, though Moody's assesses this risk as low

Outlook

The stable outlook is based on Moody's expectation that enplanement levels will continue to remain at current levels, and that financial metrics for both the GARB and CFC bonds will continue to be very strong.

What could change the rating--UP

Significant increases in O&D enplanement levels spurred by additional non-American air service, coupled with maintenance of financial metrics could put positive pressure on the GARB rating. Continued growth in transaction days and CFC collection and maintenance of MADS debt service above 2.5 times could put positive pressure on the CFC rating.

What could change the rating--DOWN

Sharply reduced financial performance driven by extended enplanement contraction or a strong shock to the Charlotte economy could place downward pressure on the rating.

The principal methodology used in this rating was Airports with Unregulated Rate Setting published in July 2011. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Myra L. Shankin
Associate Analyst
Public Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Chee Mee Hu
MD - Project Finance
Public Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's affirms Aa3 on City of Charlotte (NC) Douglas International Airport Enterprise Revenue Bonds and A3 on Consolidated Car Rental Facility bonds; Outlook is Stable
No Related Data.
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