Chicago named the winning bidders for the Midway Airport lease and redevelopment.

John Hancock, Citi Infrastructure and the Vancouver Airport for the $2.521 billion, 99-year lease on the Second City's second airport.

The Citi unit, part of New York-based Citibank, Vancouver Airport Services, and the Boston-based insurance company will take over the airport, a hub for Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways, as soon as the Chicago City Council and the FAA give their formal approval.

Midway will become the first privatized US airport, although the city formally retains title.

With about 19 million annual passengers and about 304,000 annual aircraft movements, Midway is second only to O'Hare International, which is itself part of a major locally backed modernization project.

The consortium, the Midway Investment and Development Corp., will work on modernization of the 43-gate airport in a deal that will put about $1.3 billion of proceeds into paying off airport debt and another $1 billion into funding city infrastructure projects and shoring up Chicago public employee pension funds. The city council is set to take up the matter October 8.

The consortium will get at least $130 million a year in airport revenues. The Vancouver airport (YVR) owns or operates some 18 other airports around the world.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news