Moody's downgrades JMAA's financial rating - - Jackson, MS

Moody's downgrades JMAA's financial rating

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Moody's rating for the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority takes a dip.

In a press release JMAA announces it received a downgraded issuer rating of a Baa2 down from a Baa1, with a negative outlook from Moody's Investor's Services.

Moody's did note the JMAA's sound financial position following the departure of Southwest Airlines and strong liquidity levels with over a year's worth of cash on hand in reserve to protect against unanticipated events.

One reason cited for the downgrade, a decrease in passenger traffic, especially since the pull out by Southwest in 2014.  JMAA expects passenger traffic for its fiscal year ending September 30th to be down approximately 0.4% versus the prior year.  JMAA leaders say they are encouraged by recent airline schedule changes and believe traffic for the upcoming fiscal year will increase.

Carl Newman, JMAA's Chief Executive Officer said, "after almost two decades of being arguably over served by Southwest and drawing from passengers as far north as Memphis and as far south as the Gulf Coast, we feel strongly that the Jackson region is now under served. That's why we continue to meet proactively with airlines to demonstrate to them the value of the Jackson market, and we are optimistic that the near-term trend of air service increases will take hold."

JMAA also announced ongoing meetings this week with airlines currently serving the airport.

Another rating by Fitch in April, 2017 affirmed JMAA's approximately $11 million in outstanding airport revenue bonds and a BBB+ rating with a stable outlook.

Newman added, "while this rating action today by Moody's is unfortunate, and we feel that Fitch's rating is better representative of the Authority's solid creditworthiness, we feel it is important to stress that the Authority is exceeding the covenants and requirements of its bond ordinance. Through the implementation of its Strategic Plan 2021, the Authority is committed to continuing to seek out opportunities to enhance operating revenues and increase operational efficiency."

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