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China Ready to Greenlight Return of Boeing 737 MAX

A return to the skies in China would be a major boon to Boeing with Jefferies saying it would be worth a 5% boost to the stock price

Beyond the full-service airlines, low-cost carriers are also expanding their routes. Photo: Reuters.


China’s aviation regulator has told airlines it is satisfied that design changes that Boeing proposed for its 737 MAX plane could resolve safety problems, signalling it could soon lift a ban on the plane enacted more than two years ago.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) invited airlines to give feedback on a proposed airworthiness directive for the 737 MAX by November 26.

The directive outlines specific procedures for pilots to perform in case of problems similar to those that emerged in two deadly crashes before the plane’s grounding in March 2019. It also lists all the systems that must be functioning in order for the plane to be dispatched.

A return to the skies in China, the world’s biggest aircraft market, would be a major boon to Boeing. Broker Jefferies said in September an announcement would be worth a 5% boost to the stock price.

The US and Europe last year sought industry feedback on similar proposed directives before ultimately approving the return of the 737 MAX.

China was the first nation to ground the MAX in 2019 after two deadly crashes in five months. Singapore, Malaysia, India, Japan, Australia and Fiji have already approved the plane’s return to service.

In April, Boeing stopped delivering the single-aisle jet after an electrical problem – months after the plane returned to service in the US following a lengthy safety ban due to two fatal crashes.

The US planemaker is eager to sell its MAX aircraft after the regulatory hiatus, although it could not reach agreement with low-cost European airline Ryanair in September over an order for dozens of new MAX aircraft.

Ryanair, which will take delivery of over 200 B737 aircraft over the next five years, said “it became clear that the pricing gap between the partners could not be closed and accordingly, both sides have agreed to waste no more time on these negotiations”.

Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, said “Boeing have a more optimistic outlook on aircraft pricing than we do, and we have a disciplined track record of not paying high prices for aircraft”.


  • Reuters, with George Russell




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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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