The financial and competitive sustainability of the transatlantic’s most environmentally-sustainable airline : can Norwegian survive and thrive? : an exploratory case study of Norwegian Air Shuttle’s ability to cultivate a sustainable competitive advantage
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- Master Thesis 
This thesis investigates the extent to which Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA (Norwegian) possesses the resources and capabilities required to cultivate a sustainable competitive advantage. By creating and leveraging an integrated framework to conduct a nuanced internal analysis of a unique and ongoing case of strategic innovation, the research provides the first in-depth means for investigating Teece et al’s (2016) efficiency and agility trade-off in the context of a capital-intensive firm. This investigation is carried out through a single, exploratory, qualitative case study research design. The research collects and analyzes secondary data in the form of semi-structured interviews conducted by Norwegian’s investor relations department, and various data measuring the fuel efficiency and competitive and financial positions of Norwegian and its competitors in the northern transatlantic market. The findings and analysis illustrate that, conditional on sustained liquidity and solvency, orchestrating zero-level and dynamic capabilities to realize synergies between fuel efficiency and profitability; achieve economies of scale, scope, and even first-mover advantages from its global, low-cost, low-fare, point-to-point route network; and maintain socially-complex assets and processes such as employee engagement, innovation, and organizational dynamism may enable Norwegian to cultivate a sustainable competitive advantage. Further, the company’s ability to execute a dual strategy of cost-effective service excellence would widen any such economic moat. The research’s findings are subsequently related to broader literature on the resource-based view of the firm, dynamic capabilities, and resource orchestration. Finally, this study suggests that future research investigate the applicability of tenets of the lean methodology to other capital-intensive firms and examine the sustainability of competitive and financial success resulting from other firms’ pursuit of strategic innovation strategies.