ROANOKE, Va. -

"We had to wait 3-hours 33-minutes because there was a maintenance problem," says Check resident Mary Lucas.

"It's not a good day," says Margaret Henderson of Hawaii, "By 9:30 I realized I'm not going to make my connecting flight."

Terrible travel, everyone seems to have a story.
Those stories, plus much more, were the focus of the 2nd annual Aviation Summit.

"A lot of the issues we talked about today are not Roanoke specific issues they are national issues. They are small airport issues and I do believe over time, as the industry, its health improves, will slowly be addressed," explains William Swelbar.

Swelbar is a research engineer at MIT who specializes in the airline industry.
He says even though issues like the recession, a challenging global economy and unstable fuel prices have affected the industry - the news isn't all bad.

Explains Swelbar, "When we take a look and we studied 462-airports in the U.S. -Roanoke ranks number 115."

Swelbar continues, "When you take a look at airports Roanoke's size, there are 270 of them, they rank number 4. So, there are some real positives here."

It's confirmation to airport leaders they're doing what needs to be done.
But, the executive director says the airport continues to grow relationships and evolve.

"We've added another focus this past year and that's to get much more involved in what our passengers are experiencing. Where before it was very clearly- 'Oh these are airport issues,' or 'These are airline issues,'" says Jacqueline Shack, Executive Director Roanoke Regional Airport Commission.

Also addressed Tuesday, the important role airports like Roanoke Regional play in a region's economic development.

Swelbar says it's important to support the airport, because as he told the crowd, "if we don't use it, we lose it."