The Airbus-Boeing duopoly is neither balanced nor healthy for the aviation industry. Since the McDonnell-Douglas merger into Boeing, there have been only two viable competitors in the commercial aircraft market. Today, one of those companies is failing across all its product lines, and airlines would seek a third participant if one were available.
But who is positioned to make a move in the marketplace? COMAC in China is one viable candidate, but it is very slow-moving. The C919 is not quite competitive with the A320neo and 737MAX. As this is their first competitive aircraft, the next generation of aircraft will determine how well COMAC will compete. Given China’s long-term objectives and patience, this could take until 2050.
Embraer is the only viable candidate to join the duopoly, at least in narrow-body aircraft. This is a company with a strong track record for on-time and on-budget aircraft development, a company that already builds regional and crossover jets in volume, and a company with a strong reputation for safety and quality. Could Brazil’s gem become the company that turns the duopoly into an oligopoly?
We believe that Embraer needs to step up and join Boeing and Airbus in the commercial market for several reasons.
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