Airport Check-in: Chicago Midway privatized under lease

— -- The Chicago City Council has approved a historic deal to sell a long-term lease of Midway Airport for $2.5 billion.

The winning bidder, Midway Investment and Development, will operate the airport and control its revenue for the next 99 years, making Midway the first major U.S. airport to be privatized.

City officials hope to complete the deal by the end of the year. But it still needs approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration, a process that will take at least two months.

"For the airlines, the lease will mean lower and more predictable airport rates and charges, which will improve their financial situation," said Mayor Richard Daley in a statement, adding that passengers will see improvements in amenities and services.

Midway Investment is a consortium of New York-based Citi Infrastructure Investors, Vancouver-based YVR Airport Services and Boston-based John Hancock Life Insurance. YVR owns and operates 18 airports worldwide, including Arturo Merino Benitez International in Santiago, Chile. YVR's parent, Vancouver Airport Authority, operates Vancouver International.

Chicago Midway was one of the earliest applicants for the federal experiment to allow privatizing up to five U.S. airports, only one of which can be a hub airport the size of Midway. To privatize, an airport must receive approval from 65% of its airline tenants, which Midway has gotten.

MIAMI: Inspirational art on display

Miami International is now running "Thoughts on Democracy," an art exhibit that showcases works by 60 contemporary artists and designers inspired by Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms posters.

Rockwell's Four Freedoms— Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear — were first published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1943 and later issued by the government as posters for a war bond drive. The exhibit is on the second level of the Concourse D Customs area past the security checkpoint.

NASHVILLE: Recycling bins let fliers do their part

Nashville International has installed recycling bins for plastic and aluminum throughout the main terminal. The airport, which also recycles paper products, carpet, batteries, tires and fluorescent lamps, says it contributed nearly 6 tons of mixed recyclables and 8 tons of cardboard to the city's recycling program in August.

CANCUN: Atlanta, BWI get new flights to Mexico

AirTran Airways will start round-trip non-stop daily flights between Cancun International and both Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta and Baltimore/Washington Marshall. Pending final government approval, flights from Atlanta will begin Feb. 25, with BWI service starting March 7.

Every Monday, we report on the latest news in airports across the USA. See something noteworthy in your travels? E-mail your suggestions to