DETROIT — Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is looking to contract out for the management of the Coleman A. Young International Airport, according to The Detroit News. The mayor would like the private management firm AvPorts to operate the facility.

The plan includes renovating the airport terminal and exploring extending the airport’s runways. Doing so may make the airport more attractive, as the current runway length is prohibitive for use by large jets, according to The News.

The mayor would like to spend $6 million to purchase lands and homes adjacent to the airport, and the company has pledged $50 million for renovations, The News reported.

In 1998, the Mackinac Center recommended selling the facility or contracting out for its management. The airport needed a $1.9 million annual subsidy to operate at the time. The city’s subsidy has increased to $3.4 million, according to The News.

Proponents of privatization may have a model in Chicago’s Midway Airport. Chicago city officials are looking for a long-term lease with a private operator, which could bring the city $3 billion, according to Budget & Tax News. Proceeds from the lease would go toward the city’s $1.2 billion debt on the facility.

“Privatizing City Airport studied,” The Detroit News, April 12, 2008

“Airport Privatization is Taking Off,” Michigan Privatization Report, Spring 1998

“Chicago Midway Airport Privatization Takes Wing,” Budget & Tax News, June 2008