After the success of the EMB 110 Bandeirante, Embraer began the development of their first transport category airliner in 1974. The Family 12X comprised three models with modular concept designs: EMB 120 Araguaia, EMB 123 Tapajós and EMB 121 Xingu. EMB 121 was the sole 12X model effectively produced. Araguaia’s name was changed to Brasilia in 1979 at the official launching of the project, when at a CAAA (Commuter Airline Association of America) convention several suggestions from prospective operators were collected and incorporated to EMB 120 design. Thus, a completely new aircraft – no longer related to the 12X family – was launched. No common parts from EMB 121 Xingu were used, and the capacity was revised from 24 to 30 seats
Most of the EMB 120s were sold in the United States and other destinations in the Western Hemisphere. Some European airlines such as Régional in France, Atlant-Soyuz Airlines in Russia, DAT in Belgium, and DLT in Germany also purchased EMB-120s, although the Angolan Air Force, for example, received new EMB 120s in 2007.
Great Lakes Airlines operated six EMB 120s in its fleet, and Ameriflight flies 10 as freighters.
As of July 2018, 105 Brasilias were in airline service: 45 in North/South America, 26 in Africa, 14 in Europe and 20 in Asia-Pacific, with major operators:
Embraer S.A. (Portuguese pronunciation: [ẽmbɾaˈɛɾ]) is a Brazilian aerospace conglomerate that produces commercial, military, executive and agricultural aircraft and provides aeronautical services. It was founded in 1969 in São José dos Campos, São Paulo, where its headquarters are located. The company is the third largest producer of civil aircraft, after Boeing and Airbus