China Southern Airlines 737 MAX 8

Boeing paused delivery of commercial jets to China

Doubts about a lithium battery used in cockpit voice recorders have led Chinese regulators to suspend entry of new aircraft into the country

Boeing had to pause deliveries of commercial aircraft to Chinese customers due to an order from CAAC, China’s civil aviation authority. The reason is concerns about a lithium battery used in the cockpit voice recorders of 737 MAX, 777 and 787 aircraft.

At an investor conference on May 23, Chief Financial Officer Brian West acknowledged the problem after it was revealed by Reuters the day before.

In 2024, Boeing delivered 24 aircraft to customers in China, resuming after years in which the country’s regulators banned shipments of new jets.

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The planemaker intended to deliver dozens of aircraft that are stored in the United States, especially the 737 MAX model, but the new unforeseen event could compromise the goal.

In April, four 737 MAX and one 787 were delivered to Chinese operators, but the company does not say when it stopped sending new aircraft or when the suspension should be ended.

Air China Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (Kevin Hackert)

The voice recorder with the capacity to record up to 25 hours was certified by the FAA and EASA, but apparently this was not enough to receive acceptance from the CAAC.

Scrutiny and more problems on the assembly line

The new embarrassment for Boeing comes at a time of great public scrutiny of the company after a door plug disconnected from an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 mid-flight in January.

Since then, the US manufacturer has been embarrassed by inspections, problems with suppliers such as Spirit Aerosystems and allegations from former employees about safety risks at its factories.

Amidst so many difficulties, Boeing has been delivering fewer aircraft and seeing its cash flow become negative. Shares fell 7.6% on Thursday.


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