Heads of China Aviation Regulator And Boeing Meet To Restore Commercial Relations

Boeing, the world's largest aerospace company, is seeking to restore its relationship with China, one of its biggest markets, amid the ongoing trade and political tensions between the two countries. On Wednesday, July 13, Boeing Executive Vice President Stan Deal met the head of China's civil aviation regulator, Song Zhiyong, in Beijing, according to a statement from the regulator. The meeting was an opportunity for the two sides to exchange views on Boeing's business development in China and the strengthening of China-U.S. civil aviation cooperation. The statement did not provide any details on the topics discussed or the outcomes of the meeting.


Boeing has been facing challenges in China since the grounding of its 737 MAX jet in March 2019, following two fatal crashes that killed 346 people. China was the first country to ground the 737 MAX and was expected to be one of the last to lift the ban. However, About 90% of Boeing's China 737 MAX jets have resumed commercial operation as of the end of June 2023, the U.S. aircraft maker said on its official WeChat account on Wednesday. Boeing has also been affected by the trade war and geopolitical disputes between Washington and Beijing, which have hampered its ability to sell and deliver new planes to Chinese customers. China is one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world and accounts for about a quarter of Boeing's global deliveries. However, Boeing has not received any new orders from China since 2017 and has seen its market share decline in favor of its European rival Airbus.

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In September 2022, Boeing said it would begin to remarket some 737 MAX jets earmarked for Chinese customers because it could not wait indefinitely while U.S.-China political tensions snarl deliveries. Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun said resuming deliveries in China was critical to Boeing's future, but the outlook for selling planes to China in the "near term ... a year or two" was negative.


The meeting between Deal and Song was seen as a positive sign by some analysts, who hoped it could pave the way for more constructive dialogue and cooperation between Boeing and China. However, others cautioned that the meeting did not necessarily mean that China was ready to lift the 737 MAX ban or resume normal business ties with Boeing. They said that China's decision would depend on various factors, such as technical issues, safety standards, market demand, and political considerations. Boeing has said that it remains committed to serving the Chinese market and supporting its customers and partners there. It has also expressed its willingness to work with regulators and stakeholders around the world to safely return the 737 MAX to service. As of July 2023, more than 175 airlines and leasing companies have flown more than 215,000 revenue flights with the 737 MAX since its ungrounding in late 2020.

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