China’s aviation regulator said on Thursday it has cleared Boeing 737 MAX planes to return to flying with technical upgrades. The decision comes after a ban of more than two and a half years.
“After conducting sufficient assessment, CAAC [Civil Aviation Administration of China – Ed.] considers the corrective actions are adequate to address this unsafe condition,” the CAAC said on its website.
China is the last major market where the Boeing 737 MAX was awaiting approval. The United States allowed flights to resume in December 2020 after certain software and wiring modifications had been made. The European Union gave its permission in January. Brazil, Canada, Panama, and Mexico, as well as Singapore, Malaysia, India, Japan, Australia, and Fiji have also given their approval.
According to the CAAC, Chinese pilots will need to complete new training before commercial flights can start while Boeing is required to install additional software and components.
“The CAAC’s decision is an important milestone toward safely returning the 737 MAX to service in China,” Boeing said, adding it was working with regulators “to return the airplane to service worldwide.”
China has the largest 737 MAX fleet after the US, with 97 aircraft operated by 13 carriers before the suspension, according to state media.
In 2020, China overtook the US to become the world’s biggest aviation market, according to the Centre for Aviation data.
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