Boeing 737 MAX begins required test flights in China

©Boeing 737 MAX

Data released by online flight-tracking Flightradar24 shows that a Boeing 737 MAX took to the skies in China, taking off from Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport on August 11, at 9:24 a.m. It is understood that the plane subsequently landed at Zhoushan Putuoshan Airport, about 150 km (80 nautical miles) to the south where Boeing has a completion plant for installing interiors and painting liveries.

According to Reuters news agency the jet left Seattle last week, refuelling at Honolulu and Guam on its way to Shanghai where it arrived on August 7. Boeing confirmed that it was continuing to work with global regulators as they complete their validation processes on the 737 MAX but declined to comment on the test flight in China.

China has indicated that it will consider issuing an aircraft evaluation report for the 737 MAX for evaluation and comment. However, that will be insufficient for the jet to begin flying again after being grounded in China for over two years. China’s aviation regulator previously issued three requirements for the 737 MAX’s return to service: certified design changes, sufficient pilot training, and definitive findings from the crash investigations.

Tensions between Washington and China have not helped the situation and although Boeings Chief Executive David Calhoun is confident that the 737 MAX should win approval prior to the year-end. Prior to the grounding of the 737 MAX in China roughly 25% of all MAXs manufactured were sold to Chinese buyers.

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