China Southern Airlines (ZNH) has significantly changed its plans for deliveries of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft that were supposed to join the airline through 2024.
The largest Chinese carrier decided to remove 100 Boeing 737 MAX planes from its near-term delivery plan, arguing that the delivery timetable was uncertain, Bloomberg reported on May 18, 2022.
It means that instead of 181 jets that were supposed to join the airline through 2024, it now will take only a total of 78 MAX deliveries. Under the updated plan China Southern expects to take 30 planes in 2022, 36 planes in 2023, and 12 jets in 2024.
There is also ongoing uncertainty about when the latest variant of the 737 will be ungrounded in the country.
China was the first country in the world to ground the jet in mid-March 2019, following two fatal crashes resulting in a total of 346 fatalities – Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia in 2018 and the other of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in Ethiopia in 2019.
In response to the incidents, the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) insisted on the grounding of MAX planes that had been operating in the country. Having issued an airworthiness directive for Boeing 737 MAX in December 2021, the CAAC has not ungrounded the plane yet.
Boeing currently has more than 140 MAX aircraft that are due to be delivered to its customer airlines in China.
Currently, China Southern Airlines (ZNH) is one of the largest Boeing 737 Family aircraft operators across China. According to Planespotters.com data, the airline has 26 Boeing 737-700s, 163 737-800s, and 24 grounded 737 MAX 8 aircraft in its fleet.