Boeing plans to resume operations at its facility in Zhoushan, in China’s Zheijang province, the company told the South China Morning Post.
The site is used to complete and deliver its commercial jets in China and the region and was opened in 2018. However, following the accidents that led to the grounding of the 737 MAX months later, the facility was closed.
“We will be ready to deliver to our customers when the time comes,” Boeing told the outlet.
The US planemaker has not received orders for new jets in mainland China since the trade war between the two countries began. Only one recent order, from Hong Kong’s Greater Bay Airlines, was closed in March.
Despite this, Boeing still has 118 737 MAX jets pending delivery to Chinese customers, according to a report updated until September.
China remains Boeing’s largest market outside the USA, which explains the plans to get closer to customers in the country.
Joint venture with COMAC
The Chinese government has invested heavily in the production of its own commercial aircraft, with two models in operation, the ARJ21 regional jet and the C919, an equivalent to the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320.
Both were developed and are produced by COMAC, a state-owned giant based near Shanghai. The manufacturer is also taking forward the C929 project, a widebody with a size similar to a 787.
However, both the C919 and C929 will still take years to reach a production cadence sufficient to meet demand from Chinese airlines.
For this reason, the improvement in bilateral relations between the US and China in recent months could open up space for Boeing to return to selling aircraft in the country.
The Zhoushan facility plays a fundamental role in these plans, not to mention that it is a joint venture with none other than COMAC itself.