Boeing Finally Resumes 737 MAX Deliveries To China

By Spyros Georgilidakis | January 27, 2024

After nearly five years, a Chinese airline took delivery of a new Boeing 737 MAX, and flew it across the Pacific Ocean, to its base in China.

Boeing certainly needs some good news, and restarting 737 MAX deliveries to China was one of its landmark goals. Understandably, the story got a lot less attention than one might have expected, say a month ago.

Boeing Finally Resumes 737 MAX Deliveries To China
A different China Southern 737-8. Photo: Windmemories, CC BY-SA 4.0

Saying that this is a new aircraft delivery needs a small qualification. Boeing actually built this particular 737 MAX-8 in 2019. The aircraft with registration B-20C8 first flew in September of that year, so it’s almost four-and-a-half years old.

Then finally, on the 24th of January, this 737 MAX and its China Southern Airlines flight crew, started their long journey to the plane’s new home. The first of three legs got them from Seattle to Honolulu. Then came a stop in Saipan in the northern Marianas, before the final leg, to Guangzhou.

Boeing Finally Resumes 737 MAX Deliveries To China
Photo: Windmemories, CC BY-SA 4.0

737 MAX China Deliveries – A Sigh of Relief From Boeing?

While the 737 MAX was on the way, Chinese regulators announced that they had permitted Boeing to restart deliveries of the type to airlines in China, already in December. There were indeed rumors back then that this was the case.

Planespotters in Seattle had noted that this aircraft appeared to be performing acceptance flights in December, usually a prelude to a delivery. Some believed that Boeing would hand over the first 737 MAX to China before the new year, ending 2023 on a high. It didn’t quite work.

Photo: N509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0

However, Boeing did deliver a 787 to a Chinese carrier in December, as we saw. In any case, 737 MAX deliveries to airlines in China will be a big cash boost to Boeing. The manufacturer reportedly had 85 737 MAX-8s built for Chinese carriers. There were more, but Boeing remarketed 55 of them to other airlines and lessors.

Deliveries of the 737 MAX to airlines in China had seemed imminent on many occasions in the past couple of years. But each time, international events always seemed to increase tensions and postpone key decisions.

Photo: N509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Alaska Airlines 737 MAX-9 blow-out earlier this month is Boeing’s greatest crisis for years. But as it turns out, it didn’t have a negative effect on China’s view of the aircraft. This could be simply because Chinese airlines don’t have orders for the 737 MAX-9.

Even so, Chinese regulators asked airlines to perform checks to their 737 MAX fleets, after the Alaska MAX-9 blowout. For Boeing, the next goal is to secure new 737 MAX orders from Chinese airlines, that need to grow or refresh their fleets.



  • Peter H Bewers

    Thanks Everyone, I used to always sign in as Aircraftman 789 , so no confusion, when I write my ‘ Thoughts I never wish to offend anyone or any Company, I just express my feelings as an Avid Aircraft enthusiast.
    As far as Aircraft Manufactures go, I do have a Bias towards Airbus as they are a Company on my Turf Soil When I was younger I remember Boeing and even Douglas from the U.S.A. Being ‘ King ‘ but how things have changed over the years,? My regret for the U.K. is that they dithered regarding Airbus Membership at the beginning and I think they were Share Holder Members twice and left ? not a good idea as it has turned out as Airbus is now very strong as France and Germany as the main players.
    Fortunately Hawker Siddley remain as the Designer and Builder of all the Wings , plus Rolls Royce has become a major supplier of Engines for the Wide Body Aircraft and hoping with its new UltaFan Engine to be able to offer an Engine for the Complete Range. I would like to see a production line for Airbus in the U.K. some Day ? and with the huge order book it could maybe come about ?

  • Peter H Bewers

    The problems of quality appear to continue for Boeing and its 737 ‘ Max ‘ which do no good at all to its and the flying public confidence in the Aircraft, in the Door Blowing out episode I do believe that ‘ Spirit ‘ The Company that make the Fuselage for Boeing must take some of the blame . BUT things should be checked. if bolts that retain the side doors have wire security it should be checked before the trim is fitted , surely.
    May I say a few words regarding the much talked about M S A Aircraft that Boeing have now decided not to build at least until at least 10 years ahead ?
    I feel this gap could possibly be filled by the 787 ‘ 8 ‘ and in the case of Airbus , Two Models could possibly be offered ?
    A larger A.321 called the A 322 with a New Fibre Optic built Wing , larger under carriage and Engines , plus capacity for 280 Pax also the A.350 800 which was not built but plans for its construction remain, as a ‘ Wide Body ‘ Alternative, What do other readers think ? PLANECRAZY Peter from Jersey, Channel Islands.

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