Structural changes in the European Airline industry
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- Master of Science 
Firms within the same industry can be divided into groups based on their strategic decisions and position. The objective of this thesis is to study the effects structural changes in these strategic groups in an industry has on overall firm performance. To identify these changes, and examine their effect on firms we have conducted an explorative multiple case study of two strategic groups in the European airline industry. Two main strategic groups have characterized the European airline industry in the last decade. These are the groups of full service carriers (FSCs) and low cost carriers (LCCs). Data have been collected from sources including articles, annual reports, and industry reports. Findings have been compared to existing literature on strategic groups and previous research on the industry. The analysis uncovers significant performance differences between the two strategic groups. Although the industry has seen little to no profitability in the last decade overall, the trend has shown a clear advantage to LCCs, with a strong growth in market share and higher profitability. Furthermore, strategic changes in form of a decreasing difference between the two groups have been discovered, in services and airfares, as well as internal differences such as cost reductions and efforts to increase efficiency. Based on findings the thesis recommends increased consolidation among airlines, to increase general profitability, and as short to medium-haul air travel are becoming closer to being a commodity, further cost reductions are necessary for FSCs to keep market share.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Business, Strategy - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2016