MIAMI — On Tuesday, SkyWest flew its final EMB-120 Brasilia revenue flight which was United/SkyWest 5165 from Santa Maria, California to Los Angeles; N567SW, which has flown the friendly skies since mid-1998, was the lucky aircraft to operate the final flight. A thread on Airliners.net reports that there was not much fanfare by SkyWest, but some of the flight crews recognized the final day of operations.
Embraer began development of the EMB-120 Araguaia in 1974 as the successor the the EMB-110; this aircraft became the first transport category airliner for the manufacturer, but the manufacturer changed the name to Brasilia and completed a full re-design before the official launch in 1979. The EMB-120 took to the skies for the first time in July 1983 with the first one being introduced into service two years later in October 1985.
Several EMB-120 variants were developed over the years to help carry cargo and fly farther and faster, but production ended in 2001. Although, Embraer has been known to build a few one-offs as several government militaries operate the EMB-120.
SkyWest—once the largest EMB-120 operator—announced its plan to retire by June 2015 them from the fleet last November; this would mean that it would eventually operate an all jet fleet. The reasons for the retirement are in response to increased costs and additional challenges with flight and duty rules implemented last year. SkyWest has been operating the EMB-120 since early 1987, and at one time, it had close to eight dozen in its fleet.
If you missed your chance to fly on an EMB-120, have no fear; Great Lakes still operates several.