Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Private Airports...Finally!

Privately operated (not to mention privately owned) airports have been commonplace in Europe for years, but not so in the US. Until now (finally!). According to the New York Times:

Midway Airport is poised to become the first large privately run hub airport in the country, officials said Tuesday, after an investment group bid $2.52 billion to win rights to a long-term lease, The New York Times’s Susan Saulny writes.

The deal with Midway Investment and Development Company, requires final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Chicago City Council, which is set to vote Oct. 8.

Almost all commercial airports in the United States are owned and operated by local or state governments, and Midway is no exception. But Midway is eligible for leasing because the city applied to the F.A.A. to take part in an experimental program begun about 12 years ago to explore privatization as a means to generate capital for improvements.

Congress has allowed the agency to permit up to five airports to take part in the program, and if the Midway deal is approved, it will be the first.

It's about time America caught up to Europe in this regard. In case you're wondering, here's the list of top 10 airports worldwide. They're all in Asia, Europe, and Africa, and some of the airports are operated by governments while others are operated by private companies. There are currently no US airports (all of which are run by some governmental entity) in the top 10. Maybe Midway's new privatization can change that?

Image from here.

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