All Chinese operators of the 737 MAX have resumed flying the aircraft

China was the last country to resume regular flights with the 737 MAX after nearly four years of grounding

Speaking to investors on Tuesday, April 18, Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun commented on the manufacturer’s performance over the past year and recent developments. One of the subjects addressed by the executive was the return of regular flights of the 737 MAX with all airlines in China that acquired the model.

“In fact, as of this month, all MAX operators in China have returned to flying their airplanes in service,” said Calhoun, revealing that 45 of the 95 737 MAX jets delivered in China are back in service after the long grounding period in as a result of two fatal accidents with the model, in 2018 and 2019.

China was the last country to release the return of the 737 MAX, in December 2021. Despite the authorization, Chinese companies did not immediately resume operations with the jet, which actually started only from the beginning of this year.

Therefore, while around the world the suspension of the model lasted 20 years and months, in the Chinese market the stoppage of the Boeing plane lasted for almost four years.

China Southern Airlines 737 MAX 8 (Andre Pronk/CC)

No new orders

Although they are flying their aircraft, Chinese airlines have not yet determined when they will return to receive new examples of the 737 MAX. Despite the lack of clarity, Boeing’s CEO expressed optimism to investors about the Chinese market for the company’s flagship product.

“With regards to future deliveries, we’ve recently seen encouraging progress with the Civil Aviation Administration of China releasing the 737 Aircraft Evaluation Report, which is an important step in that process. Ultimately, our customers will determine the timing of when they are ready to take delivery of their airplanes, we’ll be there to support them,” said Calhoun.

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China is one of the main markets for the 737 MAX. In the country, Boeing’s single-aisle jet has so far been selected by 11 airlines and has also been ordered by the China Development Bank. In all, Chinese companies have orders for nearly 300 examples of the plane manufactured in the United States.

Despite this, the recent diplomatic clashes between the US and Chinese governments have prevented the closing of new agreements. Airbus, for example, announced several orders in recent months, in addition to expanding investments in the country, where there is an assembly line for the A320neo family.