mbraer deciding not to pursue a return to manufacturing turboprops was always a fairly safe bet - but not even the smart money was on the regional airframer deeming the whole race to be a one-horse affair.
While the Brazilians have teased with hints and studies, their reluctance to revisit turboprops is not hard to fathom given the levels of demand forecast for the sector, and predicting its conclusion probably would not have taxed even the poorest graduate from the school of aeronautical fortune-telling.
Already geared towards re-engining its regional-jet family, Embraer hardly needs the expense and distraction of carving a niche between the contestants in a well-established duel. That is precisely what Bombardier is bravely attempting with its CSeries. For that undertaking, the Canadian airframer is armed with a significant advancement in technology and a rich pool of potential customers, but it is yet to land that crucial giant-killing blow.
Without a similar technological enticement with which to lure customers away from the incumbents in what history shows to be a fickle turboprop sector, Embraer has wisely concluded that, on balance, it would rather not challenge the duopoly.
And ignore the board-level posturing: turboprop manufacturing is still a two-horse matter, even if one of the trusty steeds has looked a little lame of late.
(This article first appeared as the second leader in the 17 April issue of Flight International)