Two domestic flights in China took center stage on October 30, 2022. On that day, one of China’s Big Three airlines had a Boeing 737 MAX put into service, raising the question of whether the MAX would finally make a full return to Chinese skies. .
The website of China Southern Airlines (ZNH) said two of the airline’s domestic flights on October 30 will be operated by the Boeing 737 MAX, Reuters noted this week.
The affected flights were supposed to take off from the China Southern hub in Guangzhou and land in Zhengzhou (flight CZ3960) and Wuhan (CZ8724).
However, on October 30, 2022, both flights were canceled, two different flight tracking websites show.
The Boeing 737 MAX’s first commercial flight to China after its grounding in 2019 took place on 10 October 2022. On that day, MIAT Mongolian Airlines operated the model on its flight OM235 from Chinggis Khaan International Airport (UBN) in Mongolia to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN), China.
In March 2019, China became the first country to ground a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft following the two fatal crashes of Lion Air flight JT610 and Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302. After a lengthy recertification process, the US Federal Aviation Administration cleared the model aircraft for commercial passenger service in November 2020.
The European Aviation Safety Agency, Transport Canada and other aviation authorities followed suit, recertifying the plane in the following months, making China the only major country yet to officially unlock the Boeing 737 MAX.
In September 2022, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) held a meeting with Boeing to discuss the return of the MAX. However, the regulatory body did not release a date for the aircraft’s return to Chinses skies at the time.
Of China’s Big Three airlines, China Southern is the largest operator of the Boeing 737 MAX, currently with a total of 24 737 MAX aircraft in its fleet, Planespotters.net data shows. Air China has a total of 16 MAXs, while China Eastern Airlines (CIAH) (CEA) (CIAH) (CEA) has only three 737 MAX aircraft in its fleet.
In September 2022, Boeing announced plans to sell some 737 MAX aircraft built for Chinese customers. Previously, the number of undelivered MAX aircraft was estimated at around 290, half of which were built for delivery to Chinese airlines.