The announcement comes just in time to make the December 31 deadline for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration Airport Privatization Pilot Program.
The city will submit a preliminary application, timetable and draft of a Request for Qualification to the FAA to maintain a spot in the program. Officials said the program will allow the city to gain a better understanding of market conditions for a potential lease for Midway, according to a city press release.
Former Mayor Richard M. Daley tried to privatize Midway, but financing for the deal fell through in 2009. The Emanuel administration is stressing how any potential deal would be different from the deal proposed by the prior administration.
The Mayor's Officec said the move is not a commitment to selling Midway Airport, but they did release a list of certain conditions that any buyer would have to meet.
City officials said any lease would last up to 40 years, where Daley had proposed a 99-year lease. A deal would require the private operator to only a "traveler's bill of rights" to ensure customer protection.
The city would also receive revenue over time, instead of one big payment upfront. An Emanuel spokesperson said state law requires any revenue from the deal to go towards city infrastructure, pensions or the operating budget but said the city would not direct any money to the operating budget.
Still, the administration can expect pushback from some Chicagoans who are wary of yet another privatization deal.
Proposed 2012 Deal:
Proposed 2008 Deal (under former Mayor Richard M. Daley):
(Proposal information provided by Mayor's office.)