HONOLULU – The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is pleased to announce the Airports Division’s bond ratings were upgraded by Moody’s Investors Service (A2 to A1 with a stable outlook) and by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (A to A+ with a stable outlook). In addition, Fitch Ratings maintained the Division’s A rating, but improved the bond outlook from stable to positive. The rating agencies cited the Airport System’s monopoly of commercial air travel, continued strength in financial performance and strong passenger growth trends as major factors.
“The credit rating upgrades will allow the state to improve the guest experience for airline passengers at a lower cost. The Airports system is the gateway to Hawaii, and its long term success is critical to the future of the State,” said Governor David Y. Ige.
The Airports Division will realize lower borrowing rates for current and future bond issues, which would enable the Airports Division to continue working with the airlines to improve airport facilities and enhance the overall passenger experience.
“This is very positive news and will benefit Hawaiian Airlines and all other carriers and airport users who are responsible for financing airport modernization,” said Mark Dunkerley, CEO and President of Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. “We appreciate the dedication and efforts by the Airport Division’s management team to achieve this upgrade.”
The rating agencies confidence in management’s ability and plans to continue the implementation of its capital program in a fiscally prudent manner were key.
“In preparation for the rating presentations, it was clear that we needed to demonstrate our strong financial position would be sustained throughout the capital improvement program,” said Ford Fuchigami, Hawaii Department of Transportation Director.
The ratings were announced just prior to the Airports Division’s first revenue bond issuance since 2011, which will fund $250 million for the next phase of the Airports modernization program. The 2015 Bonds are expected to be sold with a retail only order period on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015, with an institutional order period to follow on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015. The 2015 Bonds will pay semi-annual interest and will be sold in denominations of $5,000, or multiples thereof. Further, the 2015 bonds will be exempt from Hawaii and federal income taxes, however, the Series 2015A bonds will be subject to the alternative minimum tax.
Morgan Stanley is serving as the lead underwriter for the offering, with Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Barclays serving as co-senior managers. A Hawaii-based selling group will also be utilized to market the bonds to local retail investors. Anyone interested in purchasing the bonds should contact their broker or any member of the underwriting team or selling group.