Boeing will reportedly resume 737 MAX deliveries to China within the next few weeks.
According to a report by Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, the manufacturer has been preparing a pair of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft for delivery to a Chinese airline in the coming weeks.
The aircraft were pulled out of storage to be prepared for delivery, continued the report.
Thereare a total of 134 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft that the manufacturer has not delivered to Chinese airlines yet, ch-aviation.com data showed. Some of them flew for the first time as early as January 2019, more than two months prior to the type being grounded in China and subsequently, globally, following the second fatal Boeing 737 MAX crash in Ethiopia in March 2019.
Previously, Brian West, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Executive Vice President of Finance at Boeing, revealed during the company’s Q2 2023 earnings call, Boeing had 220 737 MAXs in inventory as of June 30, 2023.
“This includes 85 for customers in China, and 55 that have now been remarketed as part of the plan we previously discussed. We still expect most MAX inventory airplanes to be delivered by the end of 2024,” West continued.
One China Southern Airlines Boeing 737 MAX, registered as B-20CA, was spotted on a test flight on August 22, 2023. The aircraft departed Moses Lake Grant County International Airport (MWH) and arrived at King County International Airport or Boeing Field (BFI) after a more than two-hour flight.
Several other Boeing 737 MAXs were spotted on the radar, an analysis of flightradar24.com data showed. Shenzen Airlines’ Boeing 737 MAX, registered as B-208J, transponder was active on July 19 and August 8, 2023. Meanwhile, Shanghai Airlines’ aircraft of the same type, registered as B-20AK, transponder wasactive twice on August 23, 2023.
However, planespotters.net shows that B-20AK was not taken up by the Chinese airline, and will be delivered to Air India Express instead.
Another Shenzen Airlines’ 737 MAX, registered as B-20DL, activated its transponder on August 9, 2023, while Shanghai Airlines’ 737 MAX, registered as B-20CF, was spotted twice in a span of 40 minutes on the same day.
China quietly resumed Boeing 737 MAX services in January 2023, when a China Southern Airlines aircraft, registered as B-1206, flew between Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) and Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport (CGO). Since then, more and more stored Boeing 737 MAXs have been returned to service in China. Ch-aviation.com data shows that currently 91 aircraft are active while four are stored or under maintenance.
In July 2023, Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Stan Deal met with the Civil Aviation Administration of China’s (CAAC) representatives. “The two sides exchanged in-depth views on Boeing’s business development in China and strengthening Sino-US civil aviation cooperation,” the CAAC’s announcement read at the time.