Chicago mayor wants to lease out Midway airport

CHICAGO – Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is seeking private bidders interested in leasing Midway International Airport for no more than 40 years.

The mayor says he wants enough cash from the deal to pay off the airport's roughly $1.4 billion in debt, and then a split of profits with the private operator.

Emanuel is proposing a panel of City Council members, business leaders and labor representatives to oversee the process — with advice from an audit firm.

He says keeping jobs for current airport workers and a "Traveler's Bill of Rights" would be part of the deal.

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk's office says Kirk is "a strong supporter of public-private partnerships that provide value to taxpayers" and the senator is looking forward to working with Chicago's mayor on the process.