Boeing China President told the Zhoushan plant is ready for the resumption of the 737 MAX delivery.
Boeing China President Sherry Carbary told the Zhoushan plant is “ready for the resumption of the 737 MAX delivery in China”, according to a statement published on Boeing China’s WeChat page earlier this week.
737 MAX in China
The report is part of a series of promotional features prepared by Boeing China to mark the 50th anniversary of its entry into the Chinese market. However, there is no doubt Boeing would most like to celebrate this 50th anniversary with the resumption of delivery and operations of the 737 MAX in China.
Boeing is now facing perhaps its most challenging situation since it entered the Chinese market half a century ago. It is staring down the barrel of order stagnation from Chinese airlines, hundreds of new aircraft it can’t deliver to the Chinese customers, and a plant at Zhoushan that has not been actively functional for more than 3 years.
Boeing Zhoushan plant’s bumpy startup
The Zhoushan plant has drawn attention since its conception because it is the 1st time Boeing has decided to locate part of its aircraft production and delivery process outside of US territory since its foundation over a century ago.
The official name of the Chinese Boeing plant is Boeing Zhoushan 737 Completion and Delivery Center. The completion center is the joint venture of Boeing and COMAC, while the delivery center remains wholly owned by Boeing.
The Zhoushan plant began construction in 2017. By the end of 2018, one 737 MAX (B-1178) was delivered to Air China, which was the first delivery from the plant. The delivery capacity for the Zhoushan plant was designed to accommodate 100 aircraft annually, according to Victoria Wilk, General Manager of the Zhoushan delivery center.
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Chief Administration Officer of Zhoushan Completion Center
However, after 2 fatal accidents, China became the 1st country worldwide to ground the 737 MAX in March 2019. The ban is not yet lifted, leaving nearly a hundred delivered 737 MAX in storage in remote Chinese airports and over a hundred new MAX waiting to be delivered to Chinese customers. He Guoquan, Chief Administration Officer of Zhoushan Completion Center, said,
“The Zhoushan Completion and Delivery Center was put into operation in 2018, and we delivered 2 aircraft in late 2018 and early 2019. Since the 737 MAX was grounded, the Zhoushan factory has suspended actual aircraft completion and delivery. During this time, our main work is to build the system and improve the ability of all employees.”
A series of signs indicate a coming resumption of 737 MAX operations. Just yesterday, on August 20th, Xiamen Airlines ferried one of its sealed 737 MAX (B-1288) from Yinchuan to its base, Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport (XMN). All the senior management of Xiamen Airlines was at the airport to welcome it home.
In December 2021, CAAC gave an airworthiness derivative, confirming Boeing’s relevant mitigation measures would eradicate the unsafe status caused by 737 MAX MCAS. This directive clears a regulatory hurdle for the 737 MAX’s return to service in China.
One month later, in January this year, Hainan Airlines unsealed one of its 737 MAX and ferried it back to its base at Haikou Meilan International Airport.
China Southern also conducted an experimental flight test for its 737 MAX, which implemented the needs demanded by the airworthiness derivative in the same month. Air China conducted the flight test later in February.
- Now there are 97 Boeing 737 MAX owned by 13 Chinese airlines that are still grounded in China
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