The Indianapolis Airport Authority has signed an agreement to be managed for the next 10 years by a private British company, BAA.
The most visible evidence of change to travelers is expected to be more name-brand stores and concessions at the airport.
BAA, which owns seven airports in Britain, including Heathrow outside London, and was known as the British Airports Authority until it was privatized in 1987, manages the Airmall at Pittsburgh International Airport, where there are dozens of stores and restaurants like those found in malls around the country: the Body Shop, the Nature Co. and T.G.I. Friday's, for example. BAA guarantees that prices at the Airmall are no higher than in other malls.
The Indianapolis Airport Authority said the agreement should save $105 million over the 10 years. BAA said it would lower by a third the average cost to the airlines for each passenger boarded, which may encourage airlines to schedule more flights to Indianapolis.
In addition to the airports in Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, airports in Albany, Toronto and Burbank, Calif., have been privatized to some degree.