While in several nations the 737 MAX has returned to operation in recent months, China remains the largest market to still keep Boeing aircraft grounded.
In an effort to resolve the issue, Boeing is sending 737 MAX 7 registration N7201S to Shanghai for validation flights with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).
The aircraft, which was on Thursday in Honolulu, Hawaii, is scheduled to arrive in the country on Saturday and start evaluation flights next Monday.
The N7201S plane is the same one that carried out the test flights with the FAA and other civil aviation agencies last year to validate the modifications introduced by Boeing.
The route through the Pacific would have been chosen because of the ban on the overflight of the 737 MAX by Russia.
Boeing declined to comment on the 737 MAX 7 going to China. In response to some outlets, the company said that it “continues to work with global regulators as they complete their validation processes in order to better understand enhancements to the airplane.”
According to Planespotters, there are currently 96 737 MAX jets in China on 13 different airlines. The aircraft’s biggest customer at the moment is China Southern Airlines, with 24 units.
The fleet parked in the country would represent more than half of the planes that are out of service in the world. It is estimated that there are 450 737 MAX already delivered by Boeing.
Boeing 737 MAX fleet in China
|China Eastern Airlines||3|
|China Southern Airlines||24|