Commercial airports are publicly-owned transportation infrastructure, usually funded with bonds. The bond rating decision for these entities thus has important ramifications for bond investors, issuers, airport managers, and even the communities the airports serve, but the rating decision process is not well understood. This paper discusses a simulation of the rating process in two decision environments, including a downgrade. The effect of information framing in an environment of incomplete data is examined using amateur evaluators. Amateur evaluators were utilized to understand how people with limited financial analysis skills would respond when presented with incomplete information and a primed scenario. The results indicate that amateur evaluators were more likely to downgrade a bond grade than a ratings agency, but this effect was moderated for amateur evaluators with more work experience. Implications for airport and supply chain infrastructure are discussed.
Hawkins, Richard W., LeMay, Stephen A. & Ralston, Peter M. (2019). Your community gets a B-: analysis of the specific and curious realm of airport bond rating. Journal of Transportation Management, 29(2), 37-52. doi: 10.22237/jotm/1572566640