China happy with Boeing 737 MAX adjustments, seeks business suggestions

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Boeing 737 MAX aircraft lands after a test flight at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, the United States, June 29, 2020. REUTERS / Karen Ducey / File Photo

By Stella Qiu and Yew Lun Tian

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Aviation Authority has announced to airlines that it is pleased that the design changes proposed by Boeing (NYSE 🙂 Co for its 737 MAX aircraft could solve safety issues, in a sign that it is closer, a more than Two-year flight ban lifted in the Chinese sky.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) asked airlines to provide feedback on a proposed airworthiness policy for the 737 MAX by Nov. 26, according to an undated announcement from Reuters.

The guideline describes specific procedures for pilots in the event of problems similar to two fatal crashes prior to the aircraft being grounded in March 2019. It also lists all the systems that must be functional for the aircraft to be dispatched.

A return to the skies in China, the world’s largest aircraft market, would be a great blessing for Boeing. Broker Jefferies (NYSE 🙂 said in September that an announcement would be worth a 5% increase in its share price.

The United States and Europe asked industry for feedback on similar proposed guidelines last year before finally approving the return of the 737 MAX.

The CAAC notice states that after a full review of Boeing’s proposed changes, including the design of the flight control software and display system, it could be assessed that the changes could eliminate the unsafe situations that led to the crashes.

The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the notice. A Boeing spokesman said the airline is continuing to work with regulators around the world to bring the 737 MAX back into service.

The aerospace giant said the 737 MAX conducted a successful test flight for CAAC in August.

Boeing CEO David Calhoun said last month the company was working to obtain Chinese approvals for the 737 MAX flight by the end of the year, with deliveries expected to resume in the first quarter of 2022.

Around a third of the 370 undelivered 737 MAX aircraft in the warehouse are for Chinese customers, Boeing announced last month.

Before the 737 MAX hit the ground, Boeing sold a quarter of its annual aircraft to Chinese buyers, its largest customer.

Other Asia Pacific countries – including Singapore, Malaysia, India, Japan, Australia and Fiji – have already agreed to return the 737 MAX.

Safety concerns aside, Boeing sales in China have been hampered by US-China trade tensions, with Washington accusing Beijing of blocking its domestic airlines from buying Boeing aircraft.

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