CPA gets $1.4M in federal grants for airport upgrade


The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded three grants totaling $1.4 million to the Commonwealth Ports Authority.

In his weekly e-newsletter, Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) said one award of $420,000 will fund an update to the existing airport master plan to show current and future needs of the Benjamin Taisacan Manglona International Airport on Rota.

Two awards of $360,000 each will be used to acquire power sweepers to remove debris from the Rota and Tinian airfields.


Last April, international bond ratings agency Fitch Ratings gave the CPA airport bonds a B+ while CPA seaport bonds have been reaffirmed at “BB-,” or “Stable” rating.

Fitch upgraded CPA’s $12 million of outstanding senior series 1998A airport revenue bonds from B- to B+. CPA airport bonds have been revised from “Stable” to “Positive.”

Fitch said this upgrade reflects the “steady improvement in the airport’s operating profile.” This has resulted in high coverage, increased liquidity, and low leverage, says Fitch. And is “notably stronger” then CPA’s “distressed financial profile” that began in 2006.

In addition, Fitch says that low traffic rebounded significantly in fiscal year 2012 and now appears to have stabilized.

A “positive” rating reflects adequate financial stability independent of traffic performance. It also reflects, among others, continued improvements in the underlying service area economy and the airport’s ability to maintain and grow its current traffic base.

Joel D. Pinaroc | Reporter
Joel Pinaroc worked for a number of newspapers in the Philippines before joining the editorial team of Saipan Tribune. His published articles include stories on information technology, travel and lifestyle, and motoring, among others. Contact him at

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