The big story out of the Paris Air Show this week has been the ongoing rivalry between aerospace manufacturers The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) and Airbus. Airbus launched its new A350 plane in a bid to provide added efficiency in the widebody segment, and Boeing showed off a large version of its Dreamliner called the 787-10X. But while the biggest manufacturers compete in the widebody segment, two regional carriers are duking it out in the regional and narrowbody segments.
The regional jet makers
Away from U.S.-based The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) and France-based Airbus lies the two largest regional jet manufacturers. Brazilian manufacturer Embraer SA (NYSE:ERJ) and Canadian plane and train company Bombardier, Inc. (TSE:BBD.B) have long been competitors in the regional jet market, and this is not expected to change any time soon.
After buying regional jet manufacturer Canadair, Bombardier, Inc. (TSE:BBD.B) has been manufacturing the CRJ series of jets, which ranges from the 50 seat CRJ200, to the 70 seat CRJ700, to the larger CRJ900. Embraer SA (NYSE:ERJ) counters with a jet to compete with Bombardier in nearly all segments in their ERJ and E Jet Series. The two planemakers also square off in the private jet market, each making their own offerings for powerful executives worldwide. Yet, this competition is set to continue into another market, and the planes that will drive the competition are expected to launch over the next few years.
Bigger than a regional jet, smaller than a Boeing 737
While Bombardier, Inc. (TSE:BBD.B) and Embraer have been content to compete in the regional jet segment for most of their modern corporate lives, both manufacturers are looking to expand into slightly larger aircraft over the next few years.
Bombardier is ahead of Embraer SA (NYSE:ERJ) in this category in its offering for this segment. The new C Series is several years and several billion dollars in the making, but is expected to take its maiden flight by the end of June. With various seating capacities between 110 and 160 seats, the C Series is trying to fill a mid-range segment with a completely newly developed-from-the-ground-up aircraft, one of the first in decades. At this stage, Bombardier, Inc. (TSE:BBD.B) has more than half of the orders to meet its 2014 production target of 300 units.