Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed hopeful about $590 million upcoming airport bond sale

By Maria Saporta

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed spent most of Thursday in New York meeting with potential investors in Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

The city (and the airport) is selling about $590 million in tax-exempt bonds to help finance the construction of the new international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson.

Feeling optimistic about his day in New York, Reed told people attending the afternoon session of the Georgia Life Sciences Summit that he felt the bonds “are going to be oversubscribed.”

In a quick interview afterwards, Reed said his optimism was based on the presence of 54 investors at the program Thursday morning. “It was a huge audience,” the mayor said.

Reed also was feeling good about how two major credit agencies had rated those bonds.

According to bond industry publications, Fitch rated about $176 million of General Airport Revenue Bonds (backed by a senior lien on general airport revenue) an A+. The remaining $414 million bond issue that would be secured by the passenger facility charge and a subordinate lien was rated an A.

Moody’s, another major credit agency, assigned the rating of A1 on the General Airport Revenue Bonds and an A1 on the bonds that would be backed by the passenger facility charge.

Reed said this is the first batch of airport bonds that will be sold. In all, the city expects to issue about $1.5 billion in airport bonds to complete the new Maynard Jackson International Terminal.

The city should know how successful this first bond issue will be in the next three weeks.

“We are going to know very quickly,” Reed said. “The closing date is Nov. 15.”

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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