January 11, 2013

Mayor Emanuel Announces Midway Advisory Panel to Ensure Transparency and Best Practices as City Explores Opportunities at Midway Airport

Mayor also Articulates Specific Elements of Travelers’ Bill of Rights That Would Be Part of any Agreement at the Airport

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the members of the Midway Advisory Panel that will assist in the process of exploring a potential public-private partnership at Midway Airport. The committee is tasked with helping represent the public interest for any potential transaction related to airport, and will have assistance from an outside, independent financial advisory firm with expertise in evaluating transactions.

The members of the committee are:

  • Alderman Carrie Austin, 34th Ward
  • Frank Beal, Metropolis Strategies
  • James Connolly, Chicago Laborers District Council (Vice-Chair)
  • Martin Nesbitt, PRG Parking Management
  • Martin Oberman, Attorney and former Alderman
  • Peter Skosey, Metropolitan Planning Council (Chair)
  • Alderman Michael Zalewski, 23rd Ward

“These civic leaders will be vigilant protectors of taxpayer interests as we explore potential opportunities with Midway Airport,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Any potential deal must pass an extremely high threshold and this committee will ensure transparency, integrity and thorough deliberation in this process.”

The Midway Advisory Panel and its independent advisor will be briefed at every stage of the process by City officials and will be expected to provide written reports to the public that will be posted on the project website. Should the City determine to move forward with a bidding process and obtain a winning bid for City Council’s consideration at the conclusion of that bidding process, the Panel and its advisor will deliver a response to City Council outlining its viewpoints on the process and the deal proposal. The response will consider at least the following issues:

  • The benefit the proposed transaction and its structure will provide for City taxpayers and residents.
  • The fairness, transparency and competitiveness of the public process that led to the proposed transaction.
  • An evaluation as to whether the proposed transaction provides fair value for the City’s taxpayers.

The Panel and its advisor will be encouraged to consider other questions in addition to these as it forms its viewpoints.

The Mayor has pledged that City Council will have at least 30 days to review any potential deal.

To ensure that any lease agreement the City pursues has only a positive effect on Midway travelers’ experience, the Mayor also released the proposed “Travelers’ Bill of Rights,” which outlines those things that travelers through Midway Airport can expect in any potential transaction.

The “Travelers’ Bill of Rights” includes provisions regarding reasonable parking facilities and prices; high safety standards; a clean and efficient terminal; convenient and timely baggage services; reasonably-priced food and beverage choices; sufficient and clean restrooms; curbside services; medical options, and more. The proposed Travelers’ Bill of Rights is attached.

Any agreement must also fully embrace the labor protections created by State law to ensure an environment where workers are respected and treated fairly.  Should the City move ahead with a deal, every city employee at Midway will be provided the opportunity to work either for the new private operator or to remain with the city, under substantially similar employment terms and conditions in both cases.

The Mayor announced last month that the City of Chicago will deliver a Preliminary Application, timetable and draft Request for Qualification (RFQ) to the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pursuant to the FAA’s Airport Privatization Pilot Program.  This step preserves Midway’s slot in the FAA pilot program and will allow City officials to gain a better understanding of market conditions and revenue generation possibilities for the potential lease of Midway Airport.

In addition to the Travelers’ Bill of Rights and the Midway Advisory Panel, the City will include in the RFQ a number of other requirements for any potential long-term lease:

Long-term lease of fewer than 40 years – The length of the lease will be less than 40 years – significantly shorter than other transactions.

Long-term cash flow stream for long-term capital needs – Any transaction must be structured to provide an ongoing source of funds for capital needs.

Revenue share -- The City will retain ownership of Midway Airport, receive a percentage fee that will grow over time, and provide taxpayers a stake in the future success of the airport. 

The RFQ will be released publicly later this month. 

# # #

Midway Airport Travelers’ Bill of Rights – January 2, 2013   

Reasonable Parking Facilities and Prices

  • Reasonable prices for parking, including economy options
  • Availability of electric vehicle charging stations
  • Visible and clear directions to ground transportation when leaving airport terminal
  • Safe and convenient access to airport mass transit
  • Snow and ice free entrancesFrequent service from taxis and buses
  • Convenient pick-up and drop-off locations

Highest Safety Standards

  • Compliance with all federal, state and local regulations to ensure that Midway continues to be operated in a safe and secure manner
  • Continuation of high-quality safety currently provided by Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department, and Office of Emergency Management Communication
  • First aid and emergency medical treatment with trained staff on-site at all times
  • Cardiac resuscitation equipment onsite

Clean, Efficient Terminal

  • Adequate and comfortable seating, including facilities for disabled travelers
  • Comfortable / reasonable temperatures at all times
  • Easy access to flight information on display screens throughout Airport facilities
  • Attractive appearance and cleanliness with specified cleaning schedule
  • Appropriate dust control and safe air quality throughout Airport terminal
  • Availability of functional and reasonably priced wireless / mobile accessibility

Convenient and Timely Baggage Services 

  • Clear signage from gates to baggage claim
  • Limited congestion with adequate number of carousels
  • Easy access to assistance when needed
  • Access to restrooms
  • Available, convenient and affordable baggage carts

Reasonably Priced and Variety of Food and Beverage Choices

  • Diverse selection of food and beverage outlets with reasonable prices
  • Food and beverage options that working families and employees can afford
  • Healthy food options

Sufficient and Clean Restrooms:

  • Specific number of available restrooms open at all times, with areas for baby changing and nursing
  • High standard of cleanliness and specified cleaning schedule
  • High quality restroom supplies

Travel Experience:

  • Promotion and use of technology and sustainable practices to enhance the customer’s traveler experience through Midway