Just over 20 years after flying for the first time, the ERJ 140 is close to retirement on American Airlines, by far the largest operator of Embraer’s 44-seat jet. The forecast was made by The Points Guy, which says that the last plane of the type will be taken out of service in May.

American Airlines is responsible for the launch of the ERJ 140, a slightly shorter version of the ERJ 145 because of old restrictions in the scope clause between US airlines and pilots’ unions. In 2000, when the aircraft was launched with an order of 130 units, the limit imposed was 50 seats, which prevented the use of the original variant of the Brazilian regional jet.

The solution offered by Embraer was simple: remove two rows of seats from the ERJ 145, the equivalent of 1.42 meters. Produced in the long-range LR version, the ERJ 140 is capable of flying nonstop for 1,650 nautical miles (3,058 km).

Custom-made, the ERJ 140 ended up only ordered by American Airlines, through its affiliates such as Chautauqua Airlines, which ceased operations in 2014, and Envoy Air, currently the only one to operate the model, with ten active aircraft.

Currently, the Embraer plane is the smallest in the American Airlines fleet, which is undergoing extensive reformulation, with the early retirement of several models such as the MD-80, 767, 777 and A330.

However, it will not be the end of the ERJ 140’s career, which is also operated by South Africa’s Airlink airline, in addition to some smaller customers. Besides, American’s fleet may still be passed on to other companies in the future. It is estimated that 70 units are still in flight condition, this is also called ERJ-135KL.

South African’s carrier Airlink also uses the ERJ 140