Mr. al-Baker of Qatar Airways has become a human starting gun of sorts for industry discussion about re-engining the 737 and A320. His airline has been in (deadlocked) negotiations with Bombardier about the CSeries, while the prospect of such an order has provided Mr. al-Baker with a springboard to push the idea of a re-engined A320 as a potentially superior aircraft to the 120 to 149-seat CS300. Not to be out done, Boeing's Randy Tinseth is openly discussing the prospect of a re-engined 737, addressing it as technically possible, but with strategic considerations at the forefront.
Pratt & Whitney, widely believed to be a lead contender for the engine selection for the A320 and/or 737, has been actively pushing its PW1000G geared turbofan engine, which has already been through flight testing underneath the wing of an Airbus A340-600.
On the other end, the 100 to 125-seat CS100 has quietly prompted Embraer to evaluate exactly how the new narrowbody would stack up against its largest 100-seat E-195. Tucked away on page 32 of Air Insight's must read report on the future of commercial aerospace programs in Brazil, Canada, China and Japan and Russia, the Brazilian airframer delivered a noteworthy assessment of the CS100.
The real threat [to Embraer] comes from Bombardier. A proven competitor, Bombardier is taken seriously. However, Embraer points out that the CSeries wing is optimized for the larger CS300. That means the CS100 has a larger wing than needed, and as a result the CS100 will weigh ~5,000kg more than its E-195. Even with the [Pratt & Whitney PW1000G] geared fan, Embraer expects to see the CS100 only offer a 2% fuel burn advantage over the E‐195. Given that the CS100 is a new design with a program settling‐in period, Embraer believes it has some time before it needs to react to the new competition. Emphasis AddedBoeing and Airbus always promised a robust response to CSeries. Their turf is well established and with the prospect of a significant loss of market share (read: cash flow) Boeing and Airbus will fight new entrants tooth and nail. For Embraer, their assessment leaves the door open to significant changes to the E-Jet family. Would a next generation E-Jet leap frog a CS100 in the 100-seat segment? No matter how you fold it, CSeries represents a competitive threat to Embraer, Boeing and Airbus and we've only just begun to see the response.