Embraer now says a re-engined E-Jet could become available as early as 2016, or two years earlier than originally announced.

The company's target date for entry into service also has slightly advanced from 2018 to "somewhere between 2017-2018", Paolo Cesar de Sousa e Silva, president of Embraer Commercial Aviation, confirmed to FlightglobalPro.

The precise timing will be driven by which engine is selected.

If the Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan (GTF) is chosen by Embraer, the second-generation E-Jet could start flying for airlines by 2016, Silva said.

But new engine designs from General Electric and Rolls-Royce are "more likely" unavailable for operational service until 2018, he said.

Silva's mention of GE specifically could be significant. The reference possibly omits CFM International, the GE-Snecma joint venture developing the Leap turbofan for narrowbodies, and points to the GE Passport engine that replaces the smaller CF34.

GE and CFM have a pact not to compete against each other for new applications, with CFM's Leap automatically offered for any powerplant requiring more than 18,000lbf.

Moreover, Silva also mentioned R-R as a possible engine supplier for the new E-Jet family for the first time. R-R is developing an all-new narrowbody core under the Advance 2 programme.

Embraer announced in November that it would re-engine at least three of the four-member E-Jet family rather than launch a new five-abreast airframe. The E175, E190 and E195 would each be re-engined, but no final decision was made about the E-170. Embraer also is considering a 130-seat stretch of the E-195, which may span the power requirement between GE's Passport and CFM's Leap engines.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news