It appears that US aircraft maker Boeing is allowed to resume deliveries of the 737 MAX to Chinese airlines. China’s aviation authority has published a report that Boeing sees as an important step for resuming deliveries. It was discontinued more than four years ago after two fatal plane crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) released a second revision of its 737 evaluation report on April 14. The report, seen by Reuters news agency, was said to have been distributed to Chinese airlines and contained a message that the regulator had evaluated the plane and that the airlines could take delivery of the plane back if they wished, said a person familiar with the matter.
According to another source, Boeing considers the report to be the “final technical requirement” needed to resume MAX deliveries. Trade tensions between the US and China could still slow deliveries. It was not possible to obtain comment from the Chinese aviation authority, according to Reuters.
The regulator’s report was mentioned earlier this week by Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun at the annual shareholder meeting. He called it “good progress” and an “important step” to enable future deliveries. “Our customers will determine when they will be ready to receive their aircraft,” he added. Boeing has more than 130 737 MAX aircraft in stock for Chinese customers.
Chinese airlines began returning the 737 Max to service as early as January. China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines also said in March that they would resume aircraft deliveries this year, without providing further details.
It’s still “difficult to say” when China will start accepting shipments of the 737 MAX again, said Seth Sieffman, aviation analyst at JPMorgan. “It’s a geopolitical issue, in my opinion,” he wrote in a report. “Some of the administrative things that need to be done are being done. But I found this whole process very vague,” the analyst said.
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