Embraer's decision to follow the heavyweights in Toulouse and Seattle down the re-engining path might have given Bombardier a clear run with customers favouring an all-new aircraft, but it is hard not to wonder whether this leaves the CSeries as a solution waiting for a problem.
Seeing the avalanche of orders and commitments for the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 Max - as well as the paucity of interest in the CSeries - doubtless gave the Brazilian airframer a shove in favour of similarly improving its already-successful regional jet family.
Embraer is effectively completing a pincer movement on its Canadian rival, squeezing the CSeries from below just as Airbus and Boeing are from above - and both sides in this multinational vice hope to make customers wonder what the CSeries will offer that an A319, 737 or E-Jet with lower fuel-burn cannot.
Less clear, of course, is the degree to which Embraer needs to tweak the E-Jets in order to retain the family's competitive edge without hefty investment.
Crucial to the whole plan is the powerplant question. General Electric has basked in cosy exclusivity on the E-Jet family, which has logged more than 1,000 orders, but will need to come up with a serious successor if it plans to retain that comfortable position. Pratt & Whitney's geared turbofan has not only a strong foothold within the Airbus re-engining camp, but also a position on the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, which surely puts it firmly among the starting line-up to power Embraer's next-generation aircraft.
Embraer has loosely discussed various possibilities for airframe enhancements but will need discipline to avoid temptation. Like the apocryphal family broom that has only needed a couple of new heads and handles, there is a hazy line between an improved aircraft and a distinctly new one, and it is a short sleepwalk from new engines and landing-gear to new wings, avionics, fuselage and cabin.
Talk of potential orders is premature for an aircraft yet to come into sharp focus. Casual expressions of interest cost nothing - and would hardly be unexpected from major E-Jet operators - but are a long way from contractual documents and pre-delivery payments.
There might have been a certain "safety in numbers" element to Embraer's decision to re-engine, rather than follow Bombardier down the road less-travelled, but the only numbers that will count are the ones that stack up in the Brazilian order backlog.
(This piece appeared as the main Leader article in the 29 November issue of Flight International and does not necessarily represent my personal views)