Boeing All 737 MAX to Resume Service in China by End of 2023

Boeing China CEO Liu Qing announced on Chinese social media that all Boeing 737 MAX planes operated by Chinese carriers would resume service by the end of 2023, almost a year after their global grounding in 2019 due to fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. 


Although the MAX returned to service worldwide in late 2020 following modifications to the aircraft and pilot training, Chinese airlines resumed flying them only in January 2023. This amounts to nearly 100 planes. Boeing is conducting preparatory activities and flight tests on several 737 MAX jets designated for Chinese customers, fueling speculation that the U.S. planemaker could soon resume MAX deliveries to China, which have been on hold since 2019. 


A resumption of MAX deliveries to China would be a significant breakthrough for Boeing's relationship with the country, which has been impacted by the MAX crisis and U.S.-China political tensions. It would also be a financial gain for Boeing, allowing it to collect payment for dozens of Chinese MAX planes in its inventory. Since 2017, Boeing has been largely excluded from new orders from China because of Sino-U.S. trade tensions. 

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Boeing data shows that through November, it handed over eight 777 freighters to Chinese customers, and last week it delivered its first direct 787 Dreamliner to China since 2019, which may indicate an end to Beijing's freeze on 737 MAX deliveries. On Thursday, Boeing instructed airlines to inspect all MAX planes for a potentially loose bolt in the rudder control system after loose or missing hardware was detected on two planes. Ryanair, which operates the 737-8200 version of the MAX, has inspected all of its MAX aircraft, and Southwest Airlines, which has an all-737 fleet, has conducted inspections during routine overnight maintenance with no operational impact. FlyDubai, another carrier that exclusively operates 737s, is now inspecting its fleet, but a spokesperson stated that it would not impact the airline's scheduled operations, and any findings would be reported via their Safety Management System.

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