One of Boeing’s largest customers in China cancelled plans to fly its 737 MAX aircraft on scheduled flights recently, prolonging the intrigue about that series’ return to service in one of the largest domestic markets. China Southern Airlines cancelled two flights from its domestic schedule for October 30 that had been listed for 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
The carrier has 16 737 MAX aircraft in its fleet, and 32 more remain in the order book for future delivery.
China Southern is the largest airline in China, and reports that it has 3,000 daily domestic and international flights to 224 scheduled destinations.
Reuters reported that China Southern cancelled scheduled flights from Guangzhou to Zhengzhou and from Guangzhou to Wuhan. It also noted that earlier in October a MIAT Mongolian Airlines 737 MAX arrived in Guangzhou, describing that as the first commercial flight for a MAX in China since 2019.
Last summer, China Southern and Air China conducted some test flights of the updated and recertified 737 MAX.
The 737 MAX has yet to resume regularly scheduled flights in China since it was grounded in March 2019, following the second fatal accident with the twin-engine narrow-body aircraft. After several months of investigation and revision to the aircraft flight-control software, the 737 MAX was recertified for service in the U.S., Canada, Europe, including in China.
Commercial flights resumed beginning in late 2020 and early 2021, but service has not yet resumed in China or Russia.
More than that, Boeing has not yet been cleared to resume deliveries of new 737 MAX jets to Chinese airlines. In September, Boeing made it known it would begin offering completed, undelivered 737 MAX jets to other waiting buyers.