Director, Aviation Department
Port Authority of NY & NJ
Susan M. Baer is responsible for the safe and efficient operation of the world’s busiest airport system - John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, Teterboro and Stewart International airports. She oversees a staff of nearly 900 employees, more than 3,500 contract staff, a $2.2 billion operating budget and a $520 million capital budget. More than 85 air carriers operate at the agency’s airports, which served about 102 million passengers and handled two million tons of cargo in 2009. The Port Authority’s airport system supports more than half a million jobs paying more than $20 billion in annual wages and generating about $60 billion in annual economic activity.
Ms. Baer is a 35-year veteran of the Port Authority. She began her career with the bi-state agency as a management analyst. In 1985, she was promoted from manager of the Public Services Division of the Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals Department to manager of the Lincoln Tunnel - the first woman to hold that job. The following year, she became manager of the midtown Manhattan Port Authority Bus Terminal, the world’s busiest - the first woman promoted to that position as well. In 1988, she moved from buses to planes, joining the Aviation Department as General Manager of Aviation Customer and Marketing Services.
Ms. Baer is the first person in agency history to manage all of the major Port Authority airports. She was appointed General Manager of LaGuardia Airport in 1994, General Manager of New Jersey Airports (Newark and Teterboro) in June 1998, and General Manager of Kennedy Airport in 2007. She was named Deputy Director/Chief Operating Officer of the Aviation Department in 2008 and became Director of Aviation on September 25, 2009.
Ms. Baer is active in the communities surrounding the airports, serving on the Board of Vaughn College of Aeronautics and the Newark Museum. In addition, she is one of only three airport representatives among the 19 members of the Future of Aviation Advisory Committee created by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and she is a member of the NextGen Advisory Committee - one of just two airport operators on this advisory panel to the Federal Aviation Administration. She has been honored by the New Jersey AFL-CIO; the Newark International Airport Airline Managers Association; Barnard College; the YWCA of New York; the Boy Scouts, and the Aviation Institute, among others.
Ms. Baer holds a bachelor’s degree in urban studies and anthropology from Barnard College and a master’s degree in business administration from New York University. She resides in Upper Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband and three children.
Panel: The NextGen Advisory Committee - The Path Forward