Boeing B737MAX returns to commercial service in China

After three years and ten months, the Boeing B737MAX returned to commercial service in China on 13 January 2023. The first MAX to had the honour, was China Southern Airlines B737-8 B-1206 (63245), which flew from Guangzhou to Zhengzhou as CZ3960. The MAX8 is a five year old aircraft and one of 24 B737-8s that has been delivered to the airline.

Before the grounding of the B737MAX in March 2019, Chinese carriers had taken delivery of 97 B737MAXs. It's unclear what the plans of Chinese airlines are with the type and even China Southern Airlines is remaining quiet on the future use of the aircraft. With Chinese air travel demand picking-up after lifting the Covid-restrictions, there might be a need to quickly get these aircraft back in the air.

The B737MAX, however, is also part of the economic battle between the US and China. Which is why Boeing said last year it's planning to offer (part of) the 138 produced MAXs for China that are awaiting delivery to other airlines as the Chinese airlines are not able (or allowed) to take delivery of them.

Photo by China Southern Airlines,


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