Original Research

Air passenger movements and economic growth in Sri Lanka: Co-integration and causality analysis

Ruwan Higgoda, Wasanthi Madurapperuma
Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management | Vol 14 | a508 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jtscm.v14i0.508 | © 2020 Ruwan Higgoda, Wasanthi Madurapperuma | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 March 2020 | Published: 10 September 2020

About the author(s)

Ruwan Higgoda, Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited, Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake, Sri Lanka; and, Discipline of Business Administration, Faculty of Commerce and Management Studies, University of Kelaniya, Kelaniya, Sri Lanka
Wasanthi Madurapperuma, Department of Accountancy, University of Kelaniya, Kelaniya, Sri Lanka

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Background: It is generally recognised that air passenger transport contributes to the economic growth in developed and developing countries. Hence, air transportation is used as a policy instrument for stimulating economic growth. Air transport contributes to the economic welfare of the nation and long-term economic growth throughout trade and tourism. However, relatively little attention has been devoted to this phenomenon.

Objectives: The aim of this research article was to investigate the aviation-centric growth hypothesis for Sri Lanka by testing causation between aviation and economic growth.

Method: Using time series data over a period of 37 years (1983–2019), this study employed Johansen cointegration test methods, followed by Granger’s causality tests.

Results: The results of this study confirm that there is no long-run relationship between air transportation and economic growth in Sri Lanka. However, the results show that there is a short-run unidirectional Granger causality, which runs from economic growth to total passenger movements.

Conclusion: It can be concluded from the findings that they disprove the aviation-centric growth hypothesis and instead suggest that air transport does not play a significant role in the promotion of Sri Lanka’s economic growth. Furthermore, the existence of unidirectional causality from economic growth to air transport and the recognised time lags of 2–3 years would guide government and policymakers to manage resources properly and allocate resources efficiently for the sectors, which accelerate economic growth in Sri Lanka.


aviation; economic growth; unit root tests; air transportation; vector auto-regression; impulse response


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