Press Release Article


Date: May 20, 2016
Press Release Number: 75-2016

Diane Papaianni to replace retiring GM Richard Heslin at New Jersey’s busiest airport

The Port Authority announced today that Diane Papaianni, who has risen through the ranks of the agency’s Aviation Department over the course of a 36-year career, has been named the new General Manager of New Jersey Airports, which includes Newark Liberty International Airport.

Papaianni, Newark Liberty’s Deputy General Manager since 2014, replaces Richard Heslin, who is retiring from the agency after a 45-year career. In her new role, Papaianni will be responsible for both Newark Liberty and Teterboro airports, and will oversee plans for a new $2.3 billion Terminal A at Newark Liberty. She joined the agency in 1979 and has held a number of senior management positions at Newark Liberty since then.

Heslin began his career with the agency at PATH in 1971. He joined the Aviation Department in 1999 and was named Manager of Teterboro Airport in 2007, before being appointed general manager of Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, N.Y. in 2011. He attained the top post at Newark Liberty in 2014.

Two other Aviation Department veterans also are moving into new roles. Doug Stearns, Deputy General Manager of LaGuardia Airport the last two years, is succeeding Papaianni as Deputy General Manager of New Jersey Airports. Anthony Vero, LaGuardia Airport’s Manager of Physical Plant and Redevelopment, has been appointed the new Deputy General Manager at LaGuardia.

“I congratulate Diane, Doug, and Anthony on their well-deserved promotions,” said Port Authority Aviation Director Thomas Bosco. “I also thank Richard for his many contributions over the course of his career and wish him a very happy and healthy retirement.”

Papaianni began her career in Airport Operations in the late 1990s. In 1998, she accepted a position as Supervisor of Newark Liberty’s AirTrain Operations, responsible for the day-to-day management and operation of the airport’s AirTrain system. In 2010, she became Manager of Terminal B’s International Facility. The next year, she was promoted to Manager, Airport Operations and was named Deputy General Manager, New Jersey Airports in 2014.

A member of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from St. Peter’s University and a Masters of Public Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and serves on the Board of the Council for Airport Opportunity and the Newark Regional Business Partnership.

Stearns joined the agency in 2002 as a Senior Airport Engineer in Aviation’s Technical Services Division, and moved to LaGuardia Airport the following year. He has held various management positions in Aviation, including LaGuardia Airport Manager of Landside Operations, Aviation Department Assistant Director, and LaGuardia Airport Manager of Airport Operations.

Vero joined the agency in 2002 as a Senior Engineer in the Engineering Department. He joined Aviation in 2011 as a Senior Program Manager, and was appointed LaGuardia Airport’s Manager of Physical Plant and Redevelopment in 2014.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where the 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade Center is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit

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