Boeing delivers first 737 MAX to Chinese airline after almost five years

China Southern Airlines prepares to receive a 737-8 that took off from Seattle on January 24, ending a long hiatus in which the aircraft was banned from flying in the country

Amid so much disappointment, Boeing celebrates this Wednesday, January 24, the first delivery of a 737 MAX jet to a Chinese airline in almost five years.

The 737 MAX 8 aircraft, registration B-20C8, took off from Boeing Airfield, in Seattle, at 11:55 am (local time) on flight CSN5073 towards Honolulu, Hawaii, the first technical stop on the way to delivery to China Southern Airlines.

Since March 2019, Boeing has not delivered a new 737 to Chinese companies, when the second fatal accident with a 737 MAX 8 caused civil aviation authorities around the world to suspend flights with the model.

China was one of the first countries to ground the 737 MAX and since then, the aircraft’s return to service has been delayed. Just last year, jets already delivered were allowed to fly with passengers again.

The flight CSN5073 with the first Chinese 737 MAX 8 in almost five years (FlightRadar24)

The first delivery in so long comes amid scrutiny over flaws found in the production of the 737 MAX family, most recently involving the 737-9 version, whose Alaska Airlines example lost a door plug in mid-flight almost three weeks ago.

Consensus on the need for the 737 family in the market

The situation appeared to be back to normal for the US aircraft manufacturer late last year. CAAC, China’s civil aviation authority, had allowed the delivery of a 787 Dreamliner to Juneyao Airlines and signaled its intention to release the shipment of new 737s.

Boeing 737 MAX 9 N704AL registration (NTSB)

However, the new quality problems presented, in addition to other persistent difficulties such as the delay in certifying the 737 MAX 7 and 737 MAX 10 variants, could provoke new restrictions on Boeing.

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Despite this, there is a consensus that the 737 MAX family needs to reach the market in its entirety within a short period of time, due to Airbus’ lack of capacity to meet the demand for the A320neo jets.


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