Fitch Ratings on Monday refined its coronavirus pandemic recovery assumptions, implementing more severe downside parameters to reflect transportation segments that are struggling to return to “normal.”
The move comes six months after the ratings organization last published its assumptions and outlines a scenario for airports more devastating than originally thought.
“The slowest recovery lies ahead for airports, with 2019 volume levels not likely to return until at least 2024,” said Director Jeffrey Lack. Fitch’s revised coronavirus rating case sees an improvement to 55 percent of 2019 levels by 1Q’21 and 75 percent by 4Q’21, such that enplanements total 65 percent of 2019 for calendar year 2021.
The rating assumes that an effective COVID-19 vaccine or treatment is not widely available until late 2021.
The latest Fitch report examined other transportation assets as well. Cruise ports have been extremely hard hit. Fitch said it assumes no revenues from cruise ports for the balance of 2020, with minimal activity to resume in Q2 2021.” Full recovery is not expected until 2024 at the earliest. Cargo ports are expected to return to 2019 levels by 2022. Fitch also predicted strong recovery for toll roads, which it said are “well-poised to rebound by 2022 as the pandemic wanes.”