Boeing 737 MAX moving towards gaining approval in China?

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The main aviation regulators across the globe, such as the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), or Transport Canada (TC), have already approved the commercial use of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), however, is one of the last major aviation bodies that has yet to reapprove the operation of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Boeing is still facing a rocky path to gain approval for its 737 MAX to return to China. However, on August 4, 2021, one Boeing 737 MAX aircraft reportedly departed to conduct a key test flight in China, a step towards aircraft’s return in one of the most significant markets. 

According to insider sources familiar with the matter, quoted by Reuters on August 4, 2021, “Boeing and the Chinese aviation body scheduled recertification flights and testing in the coming days”. 

China was the first country to ground the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in 2019 after two deadly crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia claimed 346 lives. At the moment, China is one of the last major countries having not yet approved the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft for commercial use.

The operational approval by the Chinese authorities plays a significant role for Boeing since China is a crucial market for the 737 MAX. A green light from China would go a long way towards the plane’s commercial success. “I do know that if it goes on for too long, I pay a price,” Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said during a Bernstein conference on June 3, 2021. “I pay a price because they’re [China – ed. note] the biggest part of the growth of the industry in the world.”

The pending recertification for the MAX commercial use in China poses a risk for Boeing of seeing profits and market share slip to its biggest rival Airbus and the potential future competitor COMAC C919, which aims for local certification by the end of 2021.


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