OREANDA-NEWS. Fitch Ratings says in a new report that airport traffic tends to recover well, albeit with varying speed, from unpredictable events, except for devastating disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. Within the transport sector, airports tends to see the greatest impact from events.

Fitch says disruption to traffic is not solely driven by the severity of the event. The credit impact of a volume shock depends on its timing, as well as debt structure and liquidity. Between 2010 and 2015, Fitch took only one rating action within the Global Infrastructure and Project Finance credit universe related to event impact, suggesting that the effect on ratings has historically been low.

Natural disasters have historically imposed significant economic costs on affected regions. For the events we analysed, the hit to monthly airport passenger volumes varied from just a few percentage points to around 95% depending on the extent of the physical and economic damage. The impact of terrorism can be severe but to date has been temporary. Passenger traffic has tended to recover quickly and usually within one year. 

Outbreaks, and conflict or political instability tend to be difficult to analyse as they are not discrete. However, these events can have a long-lasting impact on volumes, given the time required for the threat to be controlled or naturally recede. The so far limited outbreak of Zika in heavily tourist-dependent Florida may yet provide a significant test of passenger reaction to a perceived disease outbreak.