Boeing's 737 Max begins China flights after four-year hiatus

A MIAT Mongolian Airlines flight landed in Guangzhou on Monday morning

FILE PHOTO: A Boeing 737 MAX takes off during a flight test in Renton, Washington January 29, 2016.  REUTERS/Jason Redmond/File photo
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The first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight appears to have resumed flying into China for the first time in almost four years, in what would be a major breakthrough for the US plane maker’s best-selling jet.

A MIAT Mongolian Airlines flight operating a round-trip between Ulaanbaatar to Guangzhou landed in the southern Chinese city at 8.18am local time on Monday, according to FlightRadar24 data.

The Mongolian airline has the flight scheduled and listed to go again, using the 737 Max, on October 17 and October 24. Both trips are available for booking on the airline's website.

“We continue to work with global regulators and our customers to safely return the 737 Max to service worldwide,” Boeing said in an e-mailed statement, declining to comment further.

MIAT Mongolian Airlines could not immediately be reached for comment.

Boeing officials met China’s aviation regulator last month to review pilot training criteria for its Max jetliners, in a sign the plane maker is getting closer to securing all the necessary approvals to get the Max back up and flying in China — the last remaining major aviation market not to permit its resumption.

China was the first to ground the Max in March 2019 and held off approving its return long after US regulators lifted a ban in late 2020. Europe and other places followed in subsequent months.

Returning the 737 Max to the skies in China and resuming deliveries are critical steps toward helping rebuild Boeing’s balance sheet, which was battered by the lengthy Max grounding and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Updated: October 10, 2022, 7:03 AM