China yet to confirm plans to lift flight ban on 737 MAX

Bonza will commence service with two or three 737 MAX aircraft ©Boeing

The head of China’s aviation regulator, Feng Zhenglin, has advised that the country currently has no plans to lift the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX, having been the first country to ban the aircraft from flying after two fatal crashes.

Zhenglin confirmed that China would be prepared to lift the ban once the jet had satisfied three principles: design changes needed to be certified, pilots needed to receive proper training, and effective improvement would have to be made to address the specific findings of the investigations into the two crashes.

“Based on these three principles, we have not set a timetable for Boeing 737 MAX’s return to service here. As long as these conditions are met, we’re happy to see the MAX return to service in China,” said Feng. “But if these conditions cannot be met, we still have to carry out strict airworthiness certification in order to ensure safety.”

Currently the 737 MAX is expected to receive regulatory approval from the European Union Safety Agency (EASA) in November, and the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) around mid-November. Feng confirmed that the CAAC had been in contact with the FAA, EASA, and Boeing regarding the 737 MAX and that he had held two meetings with Boeing’s president to discuss its return to service.

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