Embraer has set a six- to nine-month timeline for a decision on whether it will re-engine its E-Jets or come up with a clean-sheet design.
Although Boeing seems to have cooled on re-engining its 737, Embraer remains watchful about the threat of the Bombardier CSeries and a potential re-engined Airbus A320 family.
"We are deeply involved now in understanding what the alternatives are, and what the company might do. We should make a decision within the next six to nine months," said Embraer executive vice-president for the airline market Paulo Cesar Silva.
Speaking during last week's European Regions Airline Association conference in Barcelona, he said it was not clear whether airlines require a new product, especially as the 4-6% in potential direct operating cost savings will be quickly offset by the capital outlay for an all-new aircraft.
"Is this enough to invest in a new product? Maybe not," he says.
But the re-engining decision might be forced through if Airbus should make the first move. "The most evident option, if either manufacturer re-engines their narrowbodies, is to re-engine the E-Jet family in order to remain competitive," explains Cesar Silva.
"As we move upwards and get closer to the two big dogs, the game which is played is very different. We can't afford to make a mistake. We have to be sure of where we want to be."