Fuzhou Airlines joins the list of Chinese airlines operating the 737 MAX

Fuzhou Airlines became the third airline in China to operate the Boeing 737 MAX commercially following the type's grounding
Marco Menezes / Shutterstock.com

Fuzhou Airlines has become the third airline in China to operate the Boeing 737 MAX since it was grounded by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) in March 2019 following a second fatal crash involving the type. 

The carrier, which is a subsidiary of Hainan Airlines, operated flight FU6581 and FU6582 on February 15, 2023, with a Boeing 737 MAX, registered B-207C. According to the airline’s website, both flights arrived at their destinations on time after the aircraft flew a roundtrip flight between Fuzhou Changle International Airport (FOC) and Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport (CGO). 

Throughout January and February 2023, Fuzhou Airlines’ 737 MAX was seen on flight tests, with the aircraft circling around FOC. On February 14, 2023, the plane flew from FOC to Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport (XMN), presumably for another flight test, as such an itinerary cannot be booked through the carrier’s website. 

The airline’s other 737 MAX, registered B-207M, has not yet been active in 2023, according to flightradar24.com data. 

Hainan Airlines began flying the type on February 1, 2023. Out of the 12 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft it owns, only two were active in 2023, namely B-1388 and B-207H. 

China Southern Airlines became the first China-based airline to fly the 737 MAX following the type’s grounding in March 2019 in the country. On January 13, 2023, the airline used the latest generation of Boeing’s best-selling single-aisle jets to operate Flight CZ3960 from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) to Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport (CGO). Out of the 43 aircraft of the type owned by the airline, seven have been flying in China, while B-20C7 flew between San Antonio Lackland Air Force Base (SKF) and Moses Lake Grant County International Airport (MWH) on January 11, 2023. 

The aircraft has been in storage at SKF since June 2019, according to planespotters.net data. 

China Eastern Airlines’ 737 MAX, registered B-1385, has also been spotted circling around Kunming Changshui International Airport (KMG). The aircraft departed and arrived at the same airport following a three hour and 43-minute flight on February 15, 2023. 

China was one of the last countries to unground the type following its second fatal crash in March 2019, when an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX plunged to the ground in Ethiopia. Previously, in October 2018, a Lion Air MAX-8 crashed into the Java Sea in Indonesia. The two crashes claimed the lives of 346 people. 

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was the first to allow the type to begin flying commercially once again, permitting airlines to operate their 737 MAX aircraft in November 2020. 

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