September 28, 2022
China Eastern Airlines Ungrounds Boeing 737-800 Fleet
Airlines Safety

China Eastern Airlines Ungrounds Boeing 737-800 Fleet

DALLAS – In less than a month after one of its Boeing 737-800s crashed, China Eastern Airlines (MU) is putting its fleet of nearly 90 of the type back in the air. reports this morning that an MU 737-800 was seen on VariFlight flying between Kunming (KMG) in Southwest China’s Yunnan province and Chengdu (CTU) in Sichuan province. The flight distance is about 384 miles (620 km) and the scheduled duration of the flight is about 95 minutes.

VariFlight information shows that MU has been flying the route with a Boeing 737-700 since immediately after the March 21, MU5735 crash.

China Eastern has said that it is slowly returning its -800s to the air, except for those that were manufactured close to the time of the lost aircraft. A close examination of those planes is ongoing, according to a report in the state-owned People’s Daily newspaper.

China Eastern owns 89 -800s, which, according to Bloomberg, is China’s sixth-largest fleet of the type. China Southern (CZ) and Hainan (HU) lead the way in the country with 163 and 136 of the type, respectively.

Last ADS-B data from the aircraft was received at 06:22 UTC and was indicating a vertical speed of -31.000 feet per minute. Image: FlightRadar24

The Accident

On March 21, 2022, an MU flight with 123 people on board fatally crashed in Teng County, South China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. Several videos of the incident seen online show the aircraft diving to the ground in a near-vertical attitude.

Although Chinese aviation officials did not officially suspend the type from flying, MU grounded its fleet for inspection.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Featured image: China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

John Huston is a marketer, writer, and videographer who's always loved planes, clocked 10 whole hours in a Cessna and can spend hours wandering around ATL. Based in Atlanta, GA, United States.

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