The Chicago Department of Aviation says 2012 was a record year for Midway International Airport.
About 9.67 million passengers boarded planes at Midway last year, totaling the most passengers in Midway's 85-year history.
The passenger count is up 1.8 percent from the previous high eight years earlier. The city says the increase is mostly due to the fact that more flights took off from Midway last year.
“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,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.
The increased traffic comes as Emanuel is exploring plans to privatize Midway, which has drawn some criticism. Last week, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said the city of Chicago should repay the $378 million in federal funds spent to update Midway if officials decide to sell or lease it.
The city said O’Hare and Midway airports together handled more than 86.2 million passengers last year to about 200 cities worldwide.
“Midway is a premier gateway to Chicago for tourists and businesspeople," CDA Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino said. "The airport’s continued growth will provide Chicagoans with more options for travel across the U.S. and North America."