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Boeing 737 Max Is Approved for Service in China After Nearly Three-Year Grounding

  • Final safety hurdle cleared after almost three-year grounding
  • Engine maker Safran sees Max output hitting 50 a month in 2023
A 737 Max 8 plane destined for China Southern Airlines sits at the Boeing manufacturing facility in Renton, Washington in 2019.
A 737 Max 8 plane destined for China Southern Airlines sits at the Boeing manufacturing facility in Renton, Washington in 2019.Photographer: David Ryder/Bloomberg
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Boeing Co.’s 737 Max jets may resume commercial flights in China by the end of this year or early 2022, the nation’s Civil Aviation Administration said, a day after issuing an airworthiness directive that paved the way for the single-aisle workhorse to return to the Chinese skies after an almost three-year grounding. 

China will also start introducing new Max aircraft around the same time, the agency said during a briefing Friday, marking a key moment for the U.S. planemaker, which has already convinced most major global regulators about the jet’s safety following extensive fixes. China’s directive on Thursday, posted on the website of the aviation regulator, removed the last safety related obstacle to bringing the Max back, and outlined steps airlines must take to begin flying it again.