Trying to rip open the planet's most established - and entrenched - duopoly is not for the faint of heart.
Three years before its entry into service the world media is trumpeting the 2010 Farnborough Air Show as a failure for Bombardier without an order for the CSeries, though at this point in the new aircraft's development is a rapidly growing backlog essential?
The shopping spree witnessed at Farnborough was almost entirely for aircraft that are currently in production, with near term delivery dates attached. In part, Farnborough represented a show of pent up demand after 18 months of cautious buying.
The only aircraft not currently in service to receive firm orders at the show were 3 787-8s from Royal Jordanian and 30 Sukhoi Superjets from Kartika Airlines. Farnborough was about the aircraft of today, not the ones of tomorrow.
Let us for a moment put things into a bit of perspective: According to the Flight archive, in March 1986, two full years before its entry into service in 1988, the A320 had 100 firm orders and 157 options in the backlog.
This stands in comparison to CSeries orders three years before entry into service at 90 firm and 90 options.
Would an order represent a major boost of confidence for the program? Absolutely. Orders are the stamp of approval for the product, validating its backing by existing customers, as well as investors.
Yet what Bombardier needed, and what it got this week, were orders for its existing commercial and business jet portfolio. From a development perspective, deposits for CSeries are not significant enough to pay for the program moving forward, what Bombardier requires is healthy cash flow through its mature aircraft programs to help pay for CSeries development.
Most importantly, Bombardier is no longer competing with today's A319 and 737-700. The product has successfully forced Boeing and Airbus to defend its territory. The CSeries on paper is a step change beyond both, but the CSeries is now shadowboxing three products that may or may not come into existence before the end of the year.
By all appearances, the big four, Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier and Embraer, are playing a game of chicken, seeing who will blink first and announce their plans for their respective narrowbody products.
Airbus is believed to be pacing this decision for the industry, with one official on the propulsion side of the business telling FlightBlogger that Bombardier would prefer to give more clarity to its technical plans after Airbus's re-engining details emerge, rather than the other way around.
Boeing's company line remains firm, with the airfamer saying it will be "market driven" in its decision, at least indirectly implying that its customers are in a holding pattern for what will be offered by both airframers as the market has yet to make a decision. At this point, Boeing is hinting at a single engine choice for whatever it does next. As of April, Boeing had tested only a 737 with a CFM Leap-X engine configuration in the wind tunnel, says an engineer close to the development.
For Embraer, which was mum on its plans for the future, hinted late in the week to Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico that it would make a decision on a clean-sheet 130-seat jet by year's end. For Bombardier, its intentions are clear, but the technical details behind its new aircraft remain elusive. Industry officials say that even the geometry of the aircraft's composite wing has been a closely held secret by the Canadian airframer.
With a lack of clarity being the only constant across the world's leading airframer, how can customers possibly make a decision about which horse to back?
Though as another mid-summer show draws to a close, what Boeing, Airbus and Embraer decide to do over the next five months may decide the course of commercial aircraft development for the next decade.