UPDATE – Two Chinese-registered Boeing MAXs have made their first commercial flight in China since March 2019. China Southern Airlines operated a rotation between Guangzhou and Zhengzhou and another to Wuhan earlier on Friday. China Southern operates first Chinese MAX services since 2019.
The MAX was grounded by the Chinese regulatory office CAAC after the Ethiopian MAX 8 crash on March 10, 2019. Following the return to service of the type elsewhere in the world, China continued the grounding until the regulators were satisfied by the modifications made in 2020 and 2021. In late 2021, CAAC said it would allow the resumption of MAX services, but except for a few test flights it took until today before this actually happened.
Friday’s flight to Zhengzhou was operated by aircraft B-1206, while B-1127 flew to Wuhan. On Saturday, the former aircraft did a rotation to Wuhan, while a third MAX 8, B-1207, did the service to Zhengzhou. China Southern currently has 24 MAX 8s.
China is a key market for the Boeing MAX, but the market came to a standstill following the grounding and political tensions between China and the US administration. Boeing said during its Q3 results presentation in October that it has 138 MAX in inventory for Chinese customers, but was trying to remarket some of these aircraft in order to de-risk the Chinese market.
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.