The Journal reports today that the Chicago airport privatization, announced late last year, may falter.

The deal, under which Citigroup (yes, that Citigroup) and John Hancock are supposed to pay more than $2.5 billion upfront to lease Chicago’s Midway Airport for 99 years, is in trouble because the private partners might not be able to raise the debt necessary to pay the city on deadline next week.

“The global credit crisis and the deal’s rich valuation have made it difficult to get financing for the deal,” the paper notes.” Chicago could extend the deadline six months, though.

The paper also notes that Midway’s revenue after operating expenses in 2005 (the year the bankers used to pitch the deal, for some reason) was less than $50 million.

But five percent financing (ha!) on $2.5 billion would be $125 million annually, which, the last time we checked, is more than $50 million.

As loyal FW readers know, “private public partnerships” have proven to be dangerously procyclical, on both the upside and the downside.

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