Today marks 39 years since the first flight of Brazilian manufacturer Embraer’s EMB 120’Brasilia’ twin-turboprop airliner, which took place on July 27th, 1983. The company went on to produce more than 350 examples of this design, with 45 remaining active in North America today. But who do they fly for? Let’s find out.
Two smaller fleets
According to ch-aviation.com, the 45 aircraft are spread across six North American operators, with two of these fleets being smaller than the rest. The very smallest of these is Key Lime Air, which has just one active EMB 120 at its disposal. Registered as N366DC, the 28.34-year-old aircraft is leased to Denver Air Connection.
Meanwhile, Phoenix Air has a fleet of three active EMB 120s that all fly for the US Department of Defense. These turboprops are registered as N405PA, N460PA, and N465PA, and clock in at 32.5, 31.92, and 33.67 years old respectively.
Going larger with Ameriflight
The largest North American carrier in terms of its active EMB 120 fleet is Ameriflight, which has 11 operational examples of the type at its disposal (across all variants). All but one of these are freighters, with the exception being 24-year-old N568SW. This 30-seater entered service with SkyWest Airlines back in 1998.
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Ameriflight’s 10 remaining active Brasilia aircraft are split between two variants, with the dominant version (six examples, 28.5 years old on average) being the EMB 120ER (F). Meanwhile, its four active EMB 120 (RT) F aircraft are slightly older, at 32 years old on average. Ameriflight also has three inactive EMB 120s.
Texas-headquartered charter specialist Berry Aviation is also a key player when it comes to North American operators of active Embraer EMB 120 aircraft. Indeed, it has six active EMB 120ER (F) turboprops (plus one inactive example) at its disposal, with these aircraft clocking in at 25.1 years old on average.
Meanwhile, its two active EMB120RT (F) aircraft are considerably older, with an average age of 32.1 years. These aircraft differ from the rest in not having an’SW’ suffix as part of their registration, with these letters likely denoting that the aircraft with such designations began their careers at regional carrier SkyWest Airlines.
N290SW flew for United Express while at SkyWest, before transferring to Berry Aviation in 2015. Photo: Eric Salard via Flickr
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Freight Runners Express
Milwaukee-based carrier Freight Runners Express operates a mixture of passenger and cargo aircraft when it comes to its active EMB 120s. The cargo-carrying EMB 120ER (F) is the dominant variant, with four active examples (plus one in maintenance). turboprop freighters have an average age of 29.7 years old.
Meanwhile, the airline’s passenger-carrying EMB 120 (ER) aircraft are somewhat younger, at just 24 years old on average. At the time of writing, two examples of this variant were listed as being active, with the other pair in maintenance.
The remaining eight active North American Embraer EMB 120’Brasilia’ aircraft fly for interCaribbean Airways, a regional airline based at Providenciales International Airport (PLS) in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The carrier has seven EMB 120ERs at its disposal (plus one inactive example) ), As well as a single EMB120RT.