Fitch Comment: Effect of NWA & DAL's Financial Difficulties on Domestic Airport Credits

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 25, 2005--Fitch views the growing financial turmoil at Northwest Airlines, Corp. (Northwest or NWA, Fitch issuer default rating of 'CCC') and Delta Air Lines, Inc. (Delta or DAL, Fitch issuer default rating of 'C') as posing...


Fitch also recently spoke to management at ATL and CVG, both of which serve as major connecting points in Delta's system, in light of that airline's financial situation. Again, Fitch does not expect any significant operational changes in Delta's network over the short term should that airline seek protection under chapter 11. As with the Northwest hubs, both ATL and CVG indicate Delta is current on its obligation under its use and lease agreements, which should minimize any prepetition amounts due. Management at ATL reports the airport had approximately $481 million of unrestricted cash on hand at 2004 fiscal year-end, while CVG indicates it holds approximately $35.8 million of cash to support operations should that become necessary.

In the case of all four airports, credit concerns could increase over time should either airline's financial situation worsen. Furthermore, should one or both carriers enter bankruptcy proceedings, the potential for significant alterations to their operations may increase as they implement strategies to reorganize their business model and attract outside financial support. A merger or liquidation may also lead to the loss of connecting traffic at one or more airports, which other airlines may be slow to replace based on their own network operating needs and financial situation. Thus Fitch will continue to provide market commentary on how the airline industry's precarious financial situation affects credit quality of the nation's airports as conditions warrant.

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.

CONTACT: Fitch Ratings Peter Stettler, 312-368-3176 (Chicago) Douglas Kilcommons, 212-908-0740 (New York) Jessica Soltz Rudd, 415-732-5616 (San Francisco) Christine Pollak, 212-908-0526 (New York, Media Relations) KEYWORD: NEW YORKINDUSTRY KEYWORD: TRAVEL BANKING AIRLINES TRANSPORTATION BOND/STOCK RATINGSSOURCE: Fitch Ratings

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