Embraer’s public roll-out of the E190-E2 on 25 February offered both a snapshot of the company’s remarkable last two decades, and a hint of what’s to come.

Comparing the event to the unveiling of the first E170 is revealing. Back then, Embraer was a company still working to establish itself. Although the regional jet revolution of the 1990s had lifted it out of the bankrupt ruin of state control, it was still difficult to know in 2001 if the Brazilian upstart could sustain its rapid growth.

Fifteen years later, any concerns about Embraer’s sustainability are gone, and the dominance of the E-Jet family is only one indicator. The E2 condenses the company’s evolution into a single project.

Thanks to a decision in 2011, it has avoided going head-to-head with either Airbus or Boeing. It means that unlike several competitors, Embraer enters the flight-test phase in command of its own destiny.

Over the past 15 years, Embraer has become an ­international company, but not a global one. It exports products overseas, but the vast bulk of labour and management remains both in and from Brazil.

In its next growth step, Embraer is striving to become truly global. If demand calls for it, Embraer could ­establish E-Jet final assembly in China or the USA, adopting the Airbus approach of diversified assembly. Rather than challenging its bigger rivals, it can learn from them.

Source: Flight International