Denver Mayor Wellington Webb late yesterday said the city has reached an agreement with Continental Airlines that commits the bankrupt carrier to using 22 gates at the new Denver International Airport when it opens in late 1993.
City officials expect a final agreement with the Houston-based carrier by Friday. Along with the December 1991 agreement with United Airlines, Denver now has commitments for 62 gates.
Project officials said the agreement will not affect the $2.7 billion construction budget for the airport.
"It's got to be considered good news in general," said Todd Whitestone, managing director at Standard & Poor's Corp. "Continental is still weak, so you can't add much strength to the whole project."
The announcement is not expect to affect the outstanding ratings of the $3.1 billion bond-finance project. Standard & Poor's and Fitch Investors Service rate the project's bonds BBB, while Moody's Investors Service has assigned a conditional Baal.
Vicki Braunagel, assistant city attorney for the airport project, yesterday said the agreement with Continental calls for 30-year leases on 20 domestic gates in Concourse A and the use of two international gates.
Among the domestic gates, the airline has agreed to lease four with a 10-year initial lease and two similar options. Sixteen gates will be leased for an five-year initial period, with similar options for 30 years.
However, the Continental leases are subject to final approval of the bankruptcy court. The airline sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December, 1990.
The agreement also allows for Denver to issue up to $55 million of general airport revenue bonds, known as GARBS, to finance the construction of support facilities for Continental.