Olayinka, who is the British Airways, West Africa Regional Commercial Manager, made the assertion in a lecture titled “Aviation in Nigeria: Opportunities and Challenges’’.
In the lecture organised by the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce, Olayinka said the impact of the nation’s aviation industry contributed in new employments, increased investment opportunities, tourism and hospitality development.
He remarked that under the Billing Settlement Plan (BSP) the revenue generated from IATA- Licenced Travelling Agents from sale of tickets for 38 airlines in 2014 was 1.32 billion dollars.
“The aviation industry is a big industry that cannot be ignored by policy makers based on its impact on the economy.
“The need for the right policies, level playing ground and decision makers being at the helm of affairs of the industry cannot be over emphasised.
“If truly we want change in Nigeria, we must have the right people, right aircraft, right airport with everything functioning,’’ Olayinka said.
He said that Nigeria’s population made it imperative now for the nation to float a national carrier.
“I hope that with the recent political change in the country, we will have a national carrier in some shape or form flying Nigeria’s.
“It could be a flag carrier, government-owned or given to investors to run.
“Nigerians are everywhere and they need a viable airline to take them around, think about the multiplier effect in taxes, and hotel reservations in the country.
“Airlines also need to expand their services for people travelling, especially with the emergence of the middle-class with disposable income,’’ he said.
Mr Adeyemi Adefulu, President of the chamber, also urged Federal Government to create an enabling environment by addressing the nation’s infrastructure deficit, especially in the aviation sector.
“We need to make Nigeria a destination of choice where people will be willing to visit for leisure and not just for investment opportunities alone.’’