Helena Williams in Rockville Centre on Dec. 9, 2017. 

Helena Williams in Rockville Centre on Dec. 9, 2017.  Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Helena Williams, a former Long Island Rail Road president who later served in the administration of Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, has been tapped to lead the $3.9 billion makeover of John F. Kennedy International Airport's Terminal 6.

Williams was named project executive and CEO of the redevelopment project by JFK Millennium Partners, a consortium chosen by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The Garden City resident said her experience as president of Long Island Bus and later at the helm of the LIRR, the nation's busiest commuter line, prepared her for the new role, which she assumed Tuesday.

"Early in my career I did buses, then trains, and now I'm on to planes," she said. "I see JFK as a natural progression."

The project at the Queens airport will generate an estimated 4,000 jobs and Williams said that some of those may go to nearby minority communities in Nassau County.

The 10-gate, 1.2 million-square-foot terminal project is expected to fully open in 2027, serving JetBlue Airways international flights, with capacity to add additional carriers.

This is an artist rendering of the interior departures hall...

This is an artist rendering of the interior departures hall of the future JFK Terminal 6 at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Credit: Vantage Airport Group

JMP is made up of: Vantage Airport Group, an airport developer with offices in Vancouver, Canada, and Manhattan; American Triple I Partners, a Manhattan private equity firm specializing in infrastructure; and RXR, a real estate developer with offices in Uniondale and Manhattan.

Williams served as chief deputy county executive in the administration of Curran, who was defeated by Republican Bruce Blakeman in November.

She was the first woman to lead the LIRR, serving seven years until her ouster by former Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Thomas Prendergast in April 2014,

Terminal 6, which will be linked to JetBlue's Terminal 5, will include more than 100,000 square feet of dining, retail, lounge and recreational space.

The Terminal 6 project is part of a broader $13 billion plan promoted by Gov. Kathy Hochul to modernize JFK.

On Thursday, Williams toured LaGuardia Airport's Terminal B, a redevelopment project similar to JFK's Terminal 6. That project also was led by Vantage.

JetBlue has been primarily a domestic carrier. But the airline has accelerated its push into foreign markets, adding 19 international routes since establishing its Northeast Alliance with American Airlines in 2021, president and chief operating officer Joanna Geraghty said in a January earnings call.

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