MIAMI – It looks like the Boeing 737 MAX is flying in China again. Last week, Airways reported that a MAX was en route to China, making refueling stops in Honolulu and Guam before flying on to Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport (PVG). Once in China, the aircraft would begin recertification flights.
Reuters now reports that those flights have indeed begun. Flightradar24 showed a Boeing 737 MAX test plane taking off from PVG at 9:24 a.m. (0124 GMT) Wednesday. Although no destination was listed, the MAX flew in a south-easterly direction.
Posts and photos on Chinese aviation blogs showed the plane landed at Zhoushan Putuoshan Airport (HSN), which is about 80 nautical miles (150 km) to the south. Industry sources had told Reuters HSN was the expected destination.
Boeing maintains the 737 MAX completion plant in Zhoushan to install interiors and paint airplane liveries.
Working with Regulators
Boeing has said that it is working with global regulators to complete each country’s recertification process and return the MAX to operation. In China, once the test flights are complete, regulators will issue an aircraft evaluation report and put it out for comment before commencing pilot training.
Reuters notes that prior to 2019, Boeing was selling about 25% of its new aircraft to China operators. Those sales fell to near zero after the two MAX accidents and the global pandemic. Trade tensions between the Trump administration and China also contributed to the decline in sales.
Featured image: Boeing 737 MAX 10 maiden flight. Photo: Brandon Farris/airways