Up to five U.S. airports can be privatized under the FAA pilot program. Only Stewart International Airport, in New Windsor, N.Y., has completed the process, and that deal is ending seven years into a 99-year lease.
One hurdle in privatizing an airport is an FAA rule that all airport revenue must be spent on the airport.
Under the pilot program, that provision can be waived only with the consent of 65% of the airlines operating at an airport and of airlines that handle 65% of the airport's traffic.
Because National Express Corp., the British company that leased Stewart from the New York State Department of Transportation, never won that approval, it couldn't profit directly from airport operations. National Express is now pulling out and selling its lease to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, returning the airport to public control.
Midway Airport's leasing application remains under review by the FAA.
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