After almost four years of interruption, the Boeing 737 MAX returned to fly with passengers on domestic routes in China this Friday.
The resumption of activities with the aircraft in the country was carried out by China Southern Airlines, which so far is the largest Chinese customer of the MAX family with 24 jets of the type (in the MAX 8 version) in the fleet.
China ordered the grounding of the Boeing plane in its territory a day after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 model on March 10, 2019, which killed all 149 passengers and crew on board.
It was the second fatal accident with the MAX series, the most advanced single-aisle aircraft ever developed. On October 23, 2018, a jet of the same type operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air crashed into the sea near Jakarta with 189 people on board. There were no survivors.
For now, only China Southern Airlines has reactivated the 737 MAX. The Boeing aircraft is part of the fleet of 14 other Chinese carriers, which received a total of 64 MAX series aircraft (all in the MAX 8 variant). The other companies, however, have not yet defined a schedule for the active jet flight.
So far, the 737 MAX has only been absent on domestic routes in China. In October last year, MIAT Mongolian Airlines, from Mongolia, had already restored its international routes with the aircraft between the capital Ulan Bator and Chinese destinations.
After the two accidents in 2018 and 2019, the 737 MAX remained grounded worldwide for 20 months while the aircraft’s problems were resolved. The first country that saw the return of the Boeing jet was Brazil, on December 9, 2020, with Gol Linhas Aéreas.