Boeing 737 MAX makes first passenger flight in China since 2019

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A China Southern Airlines flight on a Boeing 737 MAX took off on Friday, marking the first passenger service on the model by a Chinese airline since March 2019.

The domestic flight from Guangzhou to Zhengzhou was a major milestone for Boeing in its effort to rebuild its business in China, the world’s second-largest aviation market.

The 737 MAX was grounded in March 2019 following fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia but returned to service around the world in late 2020, with the exception of China and Russia.

Foreign airlines began flying the MAX to China in October 2022, signaling that the country, which was the first to ground the model, was loosening its policies despite ongoing trade tensions with the United States.

China Southern had scheduled a return to commercial service for the 737 MAX in October 2022, but did not use it on the planned flights.