The Airport Authority for Gary/Chicago International has announced the joint city/airport committee is now in “exclusive negotiations” with Aviation Facilities Company LLC/AvPorts Management LLC, or AFCO, out of Washington DC to manage the airport. An ad hoc committee of the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority has been evaluating public-private partnership (P3) proposals to invest in the airport and surrounding area, and narrowed down the list to two respondents, including AFCO, in September. “Entering into exclusive negotiations is an important step toward our goal of unlocking the value of the airport and the surrounding area to attract jobs, long-term investment and professional management to the airport,” said Carrie J. Hightman, chairwoman of the ad hoc committee, in a prepared statement Friday. City officials have sid the ad hoc committee is pursuing a P3 model that retains public ownership of the airport and benefits from private sector innovation and access to capital. Major construction also continues at the airport of a $166 million runway extending the main 7,000-foot runway by 1,900 feet.