Boeing is more optimistic about the opportunities for the MAX in China. It is pausing previous plans to remarket aircraft of Chinese customers to others just to see if the type will really re-enter service on a large scale, President and CEO David Calhoun said during today’s earnings call. Boeing more optimistic about MAX chances in China.

China Southern Airlines resumed MAX operations two weeks ago, but only on a limited scale with three aircraft. But there are indications that some 220 MAX flights are scheduled for February. This could be a major shift and an indication that Chinese airlines that have taken delivery of MAX 8s before the grounding in 2019 are willing to resume services.

“These numbers are in the range with my numbers”, said Calhoun. “The opening up of China (after Covid) is going to be a major event in aviation. Most importantly in China, they need the MAX to fly to satisfy those demands. So we do there what we do here in the US and focus on the airplanes they have on the tarmac today, which is close to 100 airplanes.”

“For six months, that’s the course for all of us and then we are taking up the question of deliveries. I don’t want to predict that date, but the odds go up every day that the MAX goes back into service. And the aircraft we have on our tarmacs we hopefully can get delivered to our customers. There is a reason to be optimistic but we won’t change our guidance to predict this outcome.”

Boeing has 138 MAX in inventory for Chinese customers. The airframer said in September that it would start remarketing some of those aircraft to other customers as the Chinese situation was most unclear at the time and it wished to de-risk its MAX order portfolio. Asked if Boeing will continue to remarket them, Calhoun said: “Yes, but only partially. As you see the efforts (of getting the MAX back in service in China), you can assume that we will pause on that until we understand completely where China wants to go. Hopefully, that’s good news.”

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Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News. From January 2023, he will add a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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