Boeing to resell 737 MAX planes ordered by Chinese Airlines

LONDON – Aircraft maker Boeing said it would find new buyers for some of the B737 MAX planes that were to be delivered to Chinese airlines.

On Thursday this week, officials from the manufacturer announced the decision, basing their decision on the fact that China’s aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Administration of China, has not yet authorized the type of aircraft. plane to fly.

China is indeed the last major global aviation sector to have yet granted flight status to the 737 MAX, following two major accidents involving the type.

Trade versus diplomacy balance

The delay in granting re-certification of flight operations by the Chinese regulator has effectively put Boeing in a position “between a rock and a hard place” – the manufacturer must now offset commercial pressures at the risk of escalating tensions with China.

China was previously the largest market for Boeing 737 MAX family aircraft and is therefore recognized as an important market sector for the aircraft manufacturer.

The aircraft manufacturer has been forced to weigh this against the business side of a growing inventory of undelivered aircraft, some of which is a legacy of mass groundings and general inactivity during the prolonged pandemic period.

It is understood that Boeing had nearly 300 undelivered 737 MAX planes in its inventory as of mid-2022, nearly half of which were pre-allocated to Chinese airlines.

It is unclear at this stage how many Chinese pre-allocation aircraft are to be sold to other buyers.

Chinese progress on 737 MAX recertification

China’s aviation regulator appeared to be moving towards type recertification earlier this year, with a formal flight test program in place.

However, this momentum has been lost over the year and the final steps towards approval have yet to be taken. The regulator cites the series of COVID-19 lockdowns as the cause of the delay.

Statement from Boeing

Having to weigh their decision, Boeing clearly cannot delay any longer and the tone of their statement this week made that clear.

Referring to the question on Thursday, Boeing Chief Financial Officer Brian West said: “We have put off decisions on these planes for a long time. We cannot postpone this decision indefinitely, so we will start marketing some of these aircraft that were otherwise destined for our Chinese customers. »

Speaking at an investor conference, Mr West noted that China remained “an important market” and that the decision to reallocate the planes had not been taken lightly by Boeing.

Mr. West was confident that the manufacturer would be able to find other buyers for the aircraft.

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