World’s biggest aviation market may soon welcome back exiled Boeing 737 MAX
After a more than two-year flight ban, a modified version of the Boeing 737 MAX is expected to finally return to the skies of its biggest consumer, China, as Beijing signals approval of the proposed changes to the plane.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has reportedly told the nation’s air carriers it is satisfied with the design alterations the plane manufacturer has proposed for the 737 MAX, and that these changes could resolve safety issues.
The aviation regulator suggested that airlines should give feedback on the airworthiness directive for the 737 MAX by November 26, according to an undated notice seen by Reuters.
The move is projected to finally bring the troubled aircraft back to Chinese skies, prompting the country’s air carriers to start ordering the plane again.
The potential return would be a major boon to Boeing, giving a 5% boost to its stock price, Jefferies brokerage told Reuters in September.
Last year, the US and Europe sought industry feedback on similar proposed directives as a final step before ultimately approving the 737 MAX’s return.
Earlier, a Boeing spokesperson said the aerospace giant continued to work with aviation regulatory authorities across the globe to return the aircraft to service. The company also reported a successful test flight performed by the 737 MAX for CAAC back in August.
In October, Boeing Chief Executive David Calhoun said the multinational was working to obtain Chinese approval for the plane to fly by the end of the current year. It expects deliveries of new aircraft to resume in the first quarter of 2022.
Boeing was reportedly selling about a quarter of the planes it manufactured annually to Chinese airlines before the 737 MAX was grounded. Nearly a third of some 370 undelivered aircraft in storage are for Chinese customers, the company said last month.
The 737 MAX was universally banned from taking to the skies after two deadly accidents in late 2018 and early 2019 but began flying again in the US, Brazil, Panama and Mexico in late 2020.
The two accidents claimed 346 lives. In October 2018, Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea 13 minutes after takeoff, killing 189 people. In March 2019, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed near the town of Bishoftu just six minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 people on board.
Other Asia-Pacific nations that have approved the return of the 737 MAX so far include Singapore, Malaysia, India, Japan, Australia, and Fiji.
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