Crain’s Headlines: Traffic at Midway Drops to 20-Year Lows


Traffic at Midway Airport dropped last year to its lowest level in two decades—and the decline is likely to continue as long as the Boeing 737 Max is grounded.

Crain’s reports this week that the number of flights at Midway fell 5% in 2019, dipping below 200,000 for the first time since 1999, according to newly released data. Passenger counts meanwhile slumped 6%.

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Most of the downturn stems from the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max last March, following a second fatal crash overseas. Southwest Airlines, which carries 96% of the passengers at Midway, has been hurt more than any U.S. carrier by the grounding of the Max.

In other Chicago-area business news:

Simon Property Group, the largest operator of U.S. malls, said Monday it has agreed to acquire Taubman Centers, a Michigan-based mall operator that owns or manages 26 shopping centers in the U.S. and Asia. The transaction is an all-cash deal valued at about $3.6 billion.

Simon is based in Indianapolis. Among its Chicago-area holdings are Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg as well as Gurnee Mills. Taubman has no local properties, but the acquisition will still be a homecoming of sorts: Taubman was the company that originally developed Woodfield, which opened in 1971.

And finally, a national homebuilding firm is exiting the Chicago-area market, selling 232 suburban lots to a competitor.

Taylor Morrison sold the lots, in eight subdivisions, to M/I Homes. The terms of the Jan. 31 deal have not been released. The properties M/I picked up in the sale include lots for single-family homes in Libertyville, Lake Barrington and Naperville, and in townhouse developments in Hawthorn Woods, Lincolnshire, Rolling Meadows, Geneva and Arlington Heights.


Crain’s Headlines is a joint production between WTTW and Crain’s Chicago Business. It airs every Monday through Thursday on the WTTW News program “Chicago Tonight.” 


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