VPS receives positive report from global ratings agency

Gannett Florida staff report
Walton Sun

VALPARAISO — Thanks to another positive report from the S&P global ratings bureau, Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport’s (VPS) credit rating continues to rise.

RELATED: Allegiant continues Destin-Fort Walton Beach expansion with five new routes.

According to a press release from the Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners, recently released ratings showed an increase from BBB+ with a stable outlook in 2017 to A- with positive outlook.

“Hard work by the dedicated employees of the Okaloosa County Airports department are the driving force behind the upgrade,” the release said.

Increases in airline diversity and market cities, passengers, a continued reduction of debt and managed cost, as well as the extremely strong service area of Okaloosa County are other contributing factors to the improvement of the credit rating.

All of VPS’s partner airlines have increased their fleet of aircraft and frequency of flights, the release said. The increase in the diversity of airlines also allows VPS to service 41 nonstop destinations.

Since 2015, the airport’s annual passengers have increased by 120% (steady growth of between 18% and 28% each year).

In 2019, nearly 1.7 million passengers traveled through VPS.

Management has continued to reduce the overall debt. The release said that the airport had $19.4 million in debt outstanding in 2015 which has been reduced significantly to an overall debt of $13.6 million in 2019.