Traffic at Midway International Airport Continues Post-Pandemic Rebound

June 22, 2023

Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) Announces Most Recent Travel Statistics, Upcoming Restaurant and Retail Offerings as Summer Travel Season Rolls On



During the first four months of 2023, Midway International Airport welcomed an average of 1.6 million passengers per month, putting the airport at 103% of passenger volume compared to the same period in 2019, the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) reported in statistics posted online this month


“The pandemic recovery at Midway International Airport is complete, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome locals, tourists, and business travelers to Chicago’s original hometown airport this summer,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “On behalf of all Chicagoans, I welcome visitors to explore all that our great city has to offer.” 


As the summer travel season heats up, passengers traveling through Midway can expect to see a fair amount of construction, particularly near the airport’s Central Market, as work on the final phase of the Midway Modernization Program is well underway. This includes a series of concessions upgrades featuring a mix of new and existing brands with diverse ownership teams. 


“We’re so excited to welcome more than a dozen new retail, food, and beverage brands to Midway this year as part of the Midway Modernization Program, the most significant investment in our Southwest Side airport in more than two decades,” said CDA Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee. “With passenger volumes at Midway surging above pre-pandemic levels, it’s more important than ever to enhance the airport’s passenger experience through these concessions improvements, while providing thousands of jobs and contracting opportunities for local and diverse-owned businesses.” 


“The CDA and Midway Partnership are committed to delivering a world-class airport experience of the highest quality and standards with a strong emphasis on local standout Chicago food and retail brands,” said Midway Partnership CEO Sammy Patel. “As part of our continued transformation, these exciting new additions continue with our commitment to including brands and concepts that are owned and operated by small, local, minority Chicago businesses. That is why Chicago Midway boasts one of the highest Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) minority participation rates in the United States at 56%.” 


Construction on the following food and beverage locations is underway, with locations opening or re-opening in phases this fall: 

  • Garrett Popcorn Shops, near Gate B14 
  • Connie’s Pizza, Central Market 
  • America’s Dog and Burger, Central Market 
  • White Sox Bar and Grill, Central Market 
  • M Burger, Central Market 
  • Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Central Market 
  • Dunkin’, Central Market 
  • Reilly’s Daughter, Central Market 

"It is exciting for our team at NorthAmerican Concessions to be adding three new locations to our already existing hometown favorites Harry Caray's Shortstop, Arami, and Woodgrain Neapolitan Pizzeria," said Deven Rand (she/her), president of ACDBE partner NorthAmerican Concessions, the organization that will open Connie's Pizza, America's Dog and Burger, and the airport’s second Garrett Popcorn location on Concourse B.  "It is vital to have minority-owned, local businesses and brands as part of the airport to greet the millions of visitors to Chicago Midway, elevate the customer experience, and provide jobs for our communities." 


Construction on the following retail locations is underway, with locations opening in phases this summer and fall: 

  • Hudson, near Gate B9 
  • Evolve, Central Market 
  • Tumi, Central Market 
  • MAC/Jo Malone, Central Market 
  • Southside News, near Gate A11 
  • Atrium, near Gate A5 

This year’s construction is the final phase of the Midway Modernization Program, the most comprehensive investment in Midway’s facilities in more than two decades. 

The centerpiece of this capital improvement program was the expansion of the security pavilion bridge over South Cicero Avenue, which opened in 2020. This project increased the queuing area by 80,000 square feet, doubling the TSA's capacity to process passengers, from 2,500 per hour to 5,000 per hour. Other capital investments at Midway include upgrades to the airport's parking facilities, which featured new EV charging stations, upgrades to lighting and traffic flow, and the modernization of the elevator system. 


“The construction work underway in our concessions spaces is a long time coming, as many of our partners originally scheduled for buildouts in the spring and summer of 2020 were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said CDA Managing Deputy Commissioner Elizabeth Granados-Perez, who oversees Midway. “We thank Midway Partnership and our diverse ownership groups for their perseverance during these challenging few years.” 

Other concession locations that have opened at Midway International Airport since last year include: 

Passengers traveling through Midway are invited to visit the CDA’s new art exhibit commemorating U.S. veterans. Presented in partnership with Belmont Village Senior Living and co-sponsored by Harrison Street, the specially-curated exhibit features portraits of 65 senior veterans from across the country who served America during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, captured by nationally recognized photographer Thomas Sanders. Learn more about “American Heroes: Portraits of Service” on the program’s website


For a complete list of concessions operators at Midway, visit For additional information on the Midway Modernization Program, visit


About the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA)
The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) owns and operates one of the world's busiest airport systems, comprised of O'Hare and Midway International Airports. Chicago's airports offer service to more than 250 nonstop destinations worldwide, including 47 foreign countries, combined. Together, Chicago's airports serve more than 105 million passengers each year and generate approximately $70 billion in annual economic activity for the region. The CDA is self-supporting, using no local or state tax dollars for operations or capital improvements at either airport. For more information, visit


About Midway Partnership 

Midway Partnership is a joint venture comprised of some of the top companies in the aviation industry – Vantage Airport Group, SSP America, and Hudson – tasked with transforming the dining and shopping options at Midway Airport.  Midway Partnership will invest $75 million to bring more than 70 dining and retail brands to create 250 construction jobs and 1,400 permanent new jobs and increase the total concessions area from approximately 40,000 square feet to more than 70,000 square feet. Our work will position Midway to be a leading international airport in the coming years, generate tens of millions of dollars for Chicago residents and the city, and improve the travel experiences of the 22 million passengers annually.  For more information about Midway Partnership, please visit


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