Fitch Ratings has upgraded its rating on Delta’s debt to “investment grade,” the latest agency to elevate Delta’s credit rating.
“The upgrades reflect the material improvements in Delta's credit profile in recent years as the company has paid down debt, improved profitability, and firmly established its ability to generate meaningful free cash flow,” the agency said in a press release. “The rating actions are also supported by Delta's position as a leading carrier in a consolidated North American industry.”
An investment-grade credit rating is similar to having a good credit score. It means that the agency is confident that Delta can pay its debts over the long term. Most of the major U.S. airlines with global operations had their ratings reduced below investment grade following 9/11.
Earlier this year, Moody’s Investor Service made Delta the first global U.S. airline to restore its rating to investment-grade level. Having an investment-grade rating allows Delta access cheaper interest rates to finance projects like fleet upgrades, airport facilities and technology investments. It also sends a message to customers and investors that Delta is a financially stable, high-performing company.