DALLAS -- Standard & Poor's Corp. yesterday placed Denver International Airport on CreditWatch with positive implications.

The agency said in a statement that it was reviewing the BBB-minus rating of the $3.1 billion project in the wake of this week's final, 30-year agreement for United Airlines to use 42 carrier gates and 24 commuter gates at the new airport when it opens in later 1993.

About $2.1 billion of outstanding airport revenue bonds are affected by the announcement.

City officials said earlier this week that they were optimistic a final lease agreement with United, the number one carrier at Stapleton International Airport, might prompt an upgrade.

Standard & Poor's said yesterday that "final rating action will be taken once the agreement is available for review."

The agency downgraded its rating one notch from BBB on March 12, citing concerns over a refusal by United to sign a long-term agreement at that time. Also, the agency cited uncertainties about a lease agreement signed by Continental Airlines in the wake of the carrier's December 1990 bankruptcy court filing.

The future of the Continental agreement is not likely to be resolved until early February, when the Houston-based carrier is expected to file a formal reorganization plan.

In secondary dollar bond trading, Denver Airport 7 3/4s of 2021 were quoted up nearly one point, at 96 1/2-97 1/2 to yield 7.97%.

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