Boeing’s 737 MAX Deliveries to China Delayed Again Amid Safety Concerns

Boeing is facing another setback in the resumption of 737 MAX jet deliveries to China due to a mid-air panel blowout on an Alaska Airlines MAX 9 earlier this month, according to a Wall Street Journal report. China Southern Airlines, which was preparing to receive MAX planes in January, now plans to carry out extra safety checks on the aircraft. 


China's aviation regulator has also directed airlines in the country to perform safety inspections on their Boeing 737 MAX jets. Chinese airlines do not have the MAX 9 model in their fleets and the MAX 8 jets they operate do not have the panel involved in the Alaska Airlines incident. 

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Beijing is refraining from making any significant decisions until it receives more information from U.S. investigations into the accident. Boeing chose not to comment on the matter, and China Southern Airlines and China's aviation regulator did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Reuters. China halted most orders and deliveries of Boeing planes in 2019 after the 737 MAX was grounded globally following two deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. 


Resuming MAX deliveries would be a significant milestone for Boeing's relationship with China, which has been strained by the MAX crisis and political tensions between the U.S. and China. It would also be a financial boon for Boeing, enabling it to receive payment for numerous Chinese MAX planes in its inventory. Last month, the company made its first direct delivery of a 787 Dreamliner to China since 2019, which is seen as a potential indication of the end of Beijing's hold on MAX deliveries. Up until November, it also delivered eight 777 freighters to Chinese customers, as per Boeing data. Since 2017, amid U.S.-China trade tensions, Boeing has essentially been excluded from new orders from China.

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