Report: Midway Airport Saw Record Number of Passengers in 2012

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According to an article from the Chicago Sun-Times, a new report from the Chicago Department of Aviation has found that Midway International Airport had its busiest year on record in 2012. During this one-year span, about 9.67 million passengers boarded planes at the airport, located on the city's southwest side.

Here are some facts and details about the report, including the response from city officials and what it means in light of the possibility of a privatization deal:

* The passenger count for last year was 1.8 percent higher from the airport's previous record in 2004 and the 9.67 million boardings is an all-time high in the airport's 85-year history.

* The reason for more passengers boarding at Midway Airport was mostly due to more flights departing.

* During this time, Southwest Airlines added seven more nonstop flights and new flight carrier Volaris Airlines, which travels between the United States and Mexico, added five markets.

* Midway Airport handled a total of 19.5 million departing and arriving passengers last year, a 3.3 percent increase over 2011's numbers, noted the Chicago Tribune.

* Five airlines provide more than 510 daily flights at Midway Airport to about 65 different cities.

* The Chicagoist reported that passenger boardings increased 3.35 percent last year after experiencing a 7.1 percent jump in 2011. The 2011 increase was more than triple that of the national growth average.

* With increases in customer traffic at Midway Airport, the numbers give Mayor Rahm Emanuel more fuel when the city begins to accept privatization bids for the airport.

* The city of Chicago recently put out a request for qualifications regarding the privatization deal and responses from interested parties are due by the end of this month.

* In a statement, the mayor commented, "Midway continues to be one of the fastest growing airports in the U.S. and has emerged as one of the nation's premier airports for domestic service," noted NBC Chicago.

* Although Midway is far behind O'Hare Airport in terms of passenger traffic, the airports had a combined 86.2 million passengers in 2012 and handled flights to roughly 200 cities across the globe.

* However, O'Hare's numbers stayed relatively flat. Last year, 66.8 million passengers arrived and departed, a small 0.04 percent increase over 2011. Additionally, the airport saw 0.08 percent fewer flights than in 2011.

* Traffic isn't expected to slow down at Midway. In just a few months, AirTran will begin flights to Tampa and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Southwest/AirTran will begin offering flights to both the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.

Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. Currently pursuing her master's degree in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.

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