Chinese aviation authority issues airworthiness directive for Boeing 737 MAX – Community News
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Chinese aviation authority issues airworthiness directive for Boeing 737 MAX

A Boeing 737 MAX plane lands after a test flight at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, US June 29, 2020. REUTERS/Karen Ducey/File Photo

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  • Guidance instructs airlines on revisions necessary before returning to service
  • China has not specified when it will lift a MAX ban on airspace
  • Model has been grounded in China since March 2019

BEIJING, Dec. 2 (Reuters) – The Chinese aviation authority on Thursday issued an airworthiness directive for the Boeing Co (BA.N) 737 MAX that will pave the way for the model’s return to China after more than two and a half years.

The directive instructs airlines on the revisions needed before the MAX is returned to service, although it does not specify when China will lift a ban on the MAX in its airspace.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the world’s first regulator to ground the MAX after two fatal crashes in March 2019, said it had completed a review of Boeing’s proposed design changes.

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“After satisfactory assessment, CAAC believes the corrective actions are sufficient to address this unsafe condition,” the regulator said in a statement on its website.

“The CAAC’s decision is an important milestone toward the safe return of the 737 MAX to China,” Boeing said on Thursday. “Boeing continues to work with regulators and our customers to bring the aircraft back into service worldwide.”

The CAAC did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for comment on the next steps needed before the MAX can be returned to service. The regulator had asked for industry feedback last month before issuing the airworthiness directive. read more

Boeing CEO David Calhoun said in October that the company was working to obtain Chinese approvals by the end of the year for the 737 MAX to fly, and deliveries are expected to resume in the first quarter of 2022.

About a third of the roughly 370 undelivered 737 MAX aircraft in storage are for Chinese customers, Boeing said at the time.

China’s authorization of the 737 MAX is very good news, which will support the withdrawal of undelivered MAX stock, Safran (SAF.PA) CEO Olivier Andries told reporters on Thursday.

Safran makes MAX engines as part of the CFM International joint venture with GE (GE.N).

Before the 737 MAX was grounded, Boeing sold a quarter of the aircraft it built annually to Chinese buyers, its largest customers.

Aside from safety concerns, Boeing’s sales in China have been hampered by US-China trade tensions, with Washington accusing Beijing of blocking purchases of Boeing aircraft by its domestic carriers.

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Reporting by Stella Qiu in Beijing and Jamie Freed in Sydney; additional reporting by Tim Hepher in Paris, edited by Jason Neely

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.