Boeing has delivered its first 737 Max to a Chinese airline for the first time in nearly five years, according to flight data, in a rare spot of good news for the embattled company.
The delivery is seen as an important affirmation from a key market for the plane maker, whose reputation for unmatched safety and quality in its commercial jets was dealt a massive blow following a terrifying accident aboard a 10-week-old 737 Max 9 flight on January 5.
According to flight tracking website Flightradar 24, China Southern Airlines flight CZ5073 departed from Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, on Wednesday for China via Honolulu. The use of the airline’s flight number, instead of a Boeing one, suggests the ownership of the plane has already been transferred.
Boeing (BA) declined to comment on the apparent delivery.
The plane, a 737 Max 8 according to flight data, was built in September 2019 and has been parked in Boeing’s Seattle factory since then, according to flight tracking sites Flightradar 24 and Aviation Flights.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded the aircraft in March 2019 after 346 people died in two separate fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. It was discovered that a safety feature meant to stop the plane from climbing too fast and stalling had improperly forced the nose of the plane down, causing the crashes, as CNN reported previously.
Chinese aviation authorities instructed its airlines in March 2019 to ground all their 737 Max 8 aircraft, citing the need for “strict control of safety risks.” That ban was lifted in 2021, following the model’s clearance by the FAA, but there haven’t been any new deliveries of the model to China until now.
In December, the trade publication the Air Current said Boeing had won a key clearance from China’s aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), allowing Boeing to prepare Max aircraft for delivery, Reuters reported.
Read the full article here