Fitch: Global Turbulence Affects Latin American & Caribbean Airports

Dépèche transmise le 5 août 2009 par Business Wire

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fitch Ratings says the global financial crisis has negatively impacted passenger traffic at most of the airports in the Latin American and Caribbean regions and is expected to further decline in 2009. In a special performance report issued today, Fitch says airports in Latin America and the Caribbean have been very susceptible to the effects of the global recession since the sector relies heavily on tourist and business travel, with those that mainly rely on U.S. and European passenger activity experiencing the most impact. For the near term, recent declines in traffic have eased the immediate pressure on the infrastructure needs at the airports, which were strained when traffic surged for the last few years.

'The international economic crisis has taken a toll on the Latin American and Caribbean airports' financial health, with Mexico suffering not just from the recession but the swine flu outbreak earlier this year, which considerably reduced business and tourism traffic,' said Sam Kamath, Associate Director at Fitch. 'Brazil, Chile and Colombia have also experienced negative passenger trends albeit at lower levels and conversely, Peruvian airport activity has strongly increased this year due to sound economic growth.'

For nearly two decades, the airport sector in Latin America and Caribbean has achieved important infrastructure development, through the use of public-private partnerships. These investments enhanced the commercial trade of each country, while also supporting their economic development; however, the global crisis has hindered the progress of these projects.

'Once global and regional economies recover, investment for modernizing the terminals, as well as new landing runways, will be necessary to contribute to the economic developments of each country' added Cristian Fuenzalida, Director at Fitch.

Fitch expects the Latin American Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to shrink by 2.5% in 2009. Considering the important relation between airport traffic and GDP for the region, Fitch assumes that during 2009, passenger traffic in Latin America will decline on average by approximately 5%, with more favorable projections for 2010. In addition, Fitch expects traffic performance to decline moderately at the Caribbean airports, given the high reliance on the tourism industry. Although there has been deceleration in air traffic across the region, Fitch says most of its rated airports have adequate financial flexibility that commensurate with assigned credit ratings.

The special report 'Latin American and Caribbean Airports: Navigating through Global Turbulence' is now available on Fitch's website at 'www.fitchratings.com'.

Fitch's rating definitions and the terms of use of such ratings are available on the agency's public site, 'www.fitchratings.com'. Published ratings, criteria and methodologies are available from this site, at all times. Fitch's code of conduct, confidentiality, conflicts of interest, affiliate firewall, compliance and other relevant policies and procedures are also available from the 'Code of Conduct' section of this site.

Business Wire

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