GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Airports are where people are spending a lot of time these days. It’s the summer travel season and lots of flights are getting canceled daily.

We checked the departure board at the Piedmont Triad International Airport a short time ago and saw two flights delayed and one canceled.

We also sat down with the airport’s executive director, Kevin Baker, to see how the airline struggle is affecting PTI and what his team is doing to counter all that.

“This is something we are going to deal with for a while,” Baker said.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced airlines to downsize.

“There is really nothing anyone can do about it because this pilot issue is just going to take time for a new group of pilots to step into the shoes of the ones who have retired,” Baker said.

It’s one of the reasons people trying to get out of town are not taking off on time or facing lengthy delays.

“We have a lot of the regional carriers that operate here, and if they can’t find pilots, they can’t fly those planes,” Baker said. “What that has led to here is that a couple of the routes that we had here before COVID have not yet returned. Even though they should return, they won’t because the airplanes are grounded…they can’t find pilots to fly them.”

Baker says the situation at PTI is frustrating.

“There are more people flying than there are seats for them,” Baker said.

While airport leaders may not have control over the airline headaches, they are working to make the passenger experience as pleasant as possible. Equipment upgrades are being made behind the scenes.

“This will be a complete overhaul,” Baker said.

These are important improvements for an airport that is the third-largest in employment in the state with 8,600 people working on the campus.

“This airport is not like any other airport in the country…because we have a set of assets here that isn’t replicated elsewhere,” Baker said. “The airport just got a new air surveillance radar, and a new control tower is getting closer to being officially operational.”