Air China operated its first Boeing 737 MAX flights, becoming the fourth airline in the country to do so since the type was grounded in China in March 2019.
Air China resumed flying the Boeing 737 MAX on February 28, 2023, when an aircraft, registered B-1392, operated flight CA4147 between Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) and Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport (CKG). The same aircraft commenced the return journey on the same day, and on March 1, 2023, flew from PEK to Guiyang Longdongbao International Airport (KWE), from KWE to PEK, and then from PEK to CKG. Meanwhile, another airframe of the same type, registered B-1396, operated its first flights on March 1, 2023. Operating flight CA1437, the 737 MAX flew three itineraries between PEK and CKG, per flightradar24.com data.
According to ch-aviation.com data, both aircraft have been undergoing maintenance at PEK. B-1392 first flew on November 29, 2017, and was delivered to Air China on December 14, 2017, while B-1396 first flew on October 15, 2017. Boeing handed over the latter to the Chinese carrier on November 29, 2017.
Several other Air China Boeing 737 MAX aircraft have been spotted as being active, flightradar24.com data shows. B-1393 and B-1399 operated test flights departing and arriving at PEK on February 27, 2023. B-1399 is also scheduled to fly between the Capital airport and CKG on March 2, 2023.
Another aircraft of the type, registered as B-209Q, flew a test flight from and to Tianjin Binhai International Airport (TSN) on March 1, 2023.
Lastly, Air China’s B-20A7 was spotted flying in the United States in December 2022, making its way to Boeing’s facilities at Seattle Boeing Field (BFI) from San Antonio Lackland Air Force Base (SKF), later moving to Moses Lake Grant County International Airport (MWH). Per ch-aviation.com data, the aircraft is yet to be officially delivered to the Chinese carrier.
Previously, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, and Fuzhou Airlines, which is a subsidiary of Hainan Airlines, began flying the Boeing 737 MAX in the country in January 2023 and February 2023.
China Eastern Airlines, Lucky Air, Shandong Airlines, and Shenzhen Airlines’ Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are also currently in maintenance, per ch-aviation.com, indicating that these four airlines will eventually operate the type.