Aviation Pioneer and Innovator Susan M. Baer, 65, Dies, Broke Glass Ceiling at New York’s Airports

By Paul Riegler on 13 August 2016
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Susan M. Baer, the first woman to be named aviation director for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, died Tuesday at the age of 65.

Ms. Baer also held the distinction of being the first person to serve as airport director for all three major New York area airports, first LaGuardia from 1994 to 1998, then Newark through 2007, and finally Kennedy until 2008. During her tenure at each, she oversaw a variety of initiatives to improve air travel and modernize facilities.

In her four years as aviation director, a position she assumed in 2009, she oversaw 930 Port Authority employees and 3,500 contract staff according to her LinkedIn profile. The airports she managed in her new role expanded to include Atlantic City International and Stewart International airports and approximately 100 air carriers serving 111 million passengers were under her purview.

Prior to joining the Port Authority in 1976 as a management analyst, she had a stint at the Panama Canal.

Ms. Baer retired from the Port Authority after 37 years to join Arup, a British consulting and engineering firm, assuming the position of global aviation planning leader.

Survivors include her husband, Joseph Martella.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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