Intangible resources of competitive advantage: Analysis of 49 Asian airlines across three business models

James Pearson, D. Pitfield, T. Ryley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    40 Citations (Scopus)
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    Without sustainable competitive advantage firms have limited economic reasons to exist and will decline. Competitive advantage concerns the factors which provide competitive strength. This paper is based upon the resource-based view which considers firm resources to be heterogeneous and which believes that firms only have a small bundle of core resources irrespective of their overall performance. This research establishes the role of 36 intangible resources for 49 Asian airlines across three business models: network airlines; low-cost subsidiaries from network airlines; and low-cost carriers. It uses the VRIN framework which examines whether resources are valuable, rare, inimitable, and non-substitutable. Research participants distribute points between their chosen seven resources according to their perceived role in firm performance. Resources which meet all four requirements of VRIN are considered core competences and sources of sustained advantage. Across all 49 Asian airlines, the top-three most important resources of advantage are slots, brand, and product/service reputation. While these core resources are predictable, they have not previously been proven within the context of airlines, let alone geographically and by airline model. Results show that the core bundle of resources vary for each model, which helps to explain the difference in performance across models, and that some resources which were expected to be high-ranking, such as organisational culture and customer focus, were not.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)179-189
    JournalJournal of Air Transport Management
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2015

    Bibliographical note

    NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Air Transport Management. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Air Transport Management, [VOL 47, (2015)] DOI: 10.1016/j.jairtraman.2015.06.002

    © 2015, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


    • Network airlines
    • Low-cost carriers
    • Low-cost subsidiaries
    • Resources
    • Slots


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