China moves forward towards resuming Boeing 737 MAX deliveries

China is moving forward with resuming Boeing 737 MAX deliveries following a release of a technical report
Suparat Chairatprasert /

A report by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has brought Boeing 737 MAX deliveries to Chinese airlines one step closer. 

The evaluation report of the 737 MAX, issued by CAAC on April 14, 2023, has been seen by Reuters. According to the publication, citing a person familiar with the matter, Chinese airlines would have received the report, allowing them to begin taking deliveries of the aircraft whenever they choose to do so.  

In his address to shareholders during the company’s annual shareholders meeting on April 18, 2023, David Calhoun, the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Boeing, said: “With respect to China, we’ve been working diligently to support our customers there as they return their 737 MAX fleets to service”.   According to Calhoun, of the 95 737 MAX aircraft that were delivered to Chinese airlines, 45 were in service, and Boeing had seen “encouraging progress” with the CAAC “releasing the 737 Aircraft Evaluation Report, which is an important step in that process”. 

“Ultimately, our customers will determine the timing of when they are ready to take delivery of their airplanes, we’ll be there to support them,” Calhoun concluded. 

The CAAC was one of the first civil aviation authorities to ground the aircraft following the type’s second fatal accident in a span of a few months. In March 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX-8 crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. In October 2018, a Lion Air aircraft of the same type had plunged into the sea several minutes after taking off from Soekarno–Hatta International Airport (CGK). 

China Southern Airlines began flying the 737 MAX in January 2023, almost four years since the CAAC grounded the type. becoming the first Chinese airline to do so. According to data, there are currently 44 active Boeing 737 MAXs in the country, operated by 11 airlines. 261 aircraft of the type are either undergoing maintenance, not yet delivered, or in storage, data shows. 

Most recently, Boeing confirmed that a supplier-side issue could result in significant 737 MAX delivery delays, affecting up to 9,000 airline seats during the upcoming summer travel season, according to Calhoun’s same address to Boeing’s shareholders. 

“As we shared last week, our fuselage supplier notified us that a non-standard manufacturing process was used on two fittings in the aft fuselage section of certain 737 airplanes,” noted the CEO of the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). 

The non-standard manufacturing process was used on 737 MAX-7, MAX-8, and MAX-10 built during the last four years, potentially affecting up to 752 aircraft. The MAX-9 was unaffected by the problem. 

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