CLE Receives Bond Ratings Upgrades from Leading Agencies

August 31, 2018

Standard & Poors (S&P) Global Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service (Moody’s) have upgraded their respective airport bond ratings for Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE). S&P upgraded its underlying rating for CLE to ‘A’ while Moody’s increased its rating to ‘A3’. This is the first time in eight years that both rating agencies have rated CLE in the ‘A’ category.

“The ratings upgrades received from the leading credit rating agencies S&P and Moody’s further signals the financial strength of the Cleveland Airport System and recognizes the airport’s role in serving the air travel needs and future growth of Northeast Ohio,” said Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “Increases in passenger activity at Cleveland Hopkins are a testament to the economic vitality and international appeal of Cleveland.”

“Cleveland Hopkins International Airport’s successful transition from an airline hub to serving the needs of local, originating passengers of NE Ohio is further substantiated by the ratings upgrades the airport received by S&P Global Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service,” said Airport Director Robert Kennedy. “These are exciting times for Cleveland Hopkins, with record numbers of passengers using the airport and airlines serving the air travel needs of NE Ohio.”

In its ratings review, S&P stated, “The airport's managerial and governance, in our view, is very strong, reflecting our view of CLE's strategic positioning; risk and financial management; and organizational effectiveness. Cleveland maintains tight control over airport finances and overall, we believe the management team is capable.”

CLE’s new rating affects $675 million in outstanding debt as well as the new Series 2018 Bonds the airport is issuing to provide customer service upgrades and improvements to airport infrastructure.

The rating upgrade is in part due to the steady increase in passengers at CLE. In 2017, 9,140,445 people came through the doors of the airport, representing an 8.5 percent increase over the prior year and highest total since 2011. Through July 2018, CLE is already up 6.9 percent over 2017.