Boeing is reportedly on the verge of restarting deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner aircraft to Chinese airlines within days, a company source has disclosed. If true, it would mark the first delivery of a Dreamliner to a Chinese carrier since 2021. Moreover, the move could kickstart deliveries of the US manufacturer’s short-haul Boeing 737 MAX family of narrowbodies to Chinese airlines.
Juneyao Airlines, a privately owned Chinese carrier, is due to receive a new 787 Dreamliner in the coming days, flying from the planemaker’s assembly plant in Seattle to Shanghai in China. The source told Reuters that this delivery flight could take place as soon as December 21, 2023.
Linked in with this development is the clearest indication yet that Boeing is preparing to resume deliveries of 737 MAX aircraft to Chinese carriers. Earlier in December 2023, Boeing received clearance from China’s aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) giving its approval for 737 MAX deliveries to resume.
The type was grounded in China since the accidents involving two early MAX 8 aircraft operated by Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines in 2018 and 2019 respectively. While the 737 MAX has since been cleared to recommence commercial flying in China, there has been a general suspension of Boeing aircraft deliveries (of all types) to Chinese carriers since 2019.
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“We continue to support our customers in China and will be ready to deliver for our customers when that time comes,” Boeing said in a statement.
On December 8, 2023, CAAC’s deputy head advised that it had notified Boeing that it was welcome to deepen its development in the Chinese market and, according to Reuters, the Chinese regulator’s clearance was granted that same day.
As a side note to this developing story, a newly built Boeing 737 MAX which is destined for China Southern Airlines flew from Boeing Field in Seattle (BFI) to Boeing’s nearby facility in Moses Lake, Washington, and back on December 20, 2023, according to data from flight tracking website FlightRadar24.
This is standard Boeing operating procedure for an airplane underrating a customer acceptance flight – a test flight operated by representatives from the customer airline before acceptance papers are signed and exchanged.
For Boeing, restarting deliveries would be a massive step forward, symbolizing the re-opening of one of the world’s most important aerospace markets, which Boeing projects will compose 20% of the world’s aircraft demand until 2042.
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