This development has the potential to signal the conclusion of a more than four-year hiatus on deliveries of Boeing’s lucrative 737 MAX to China.
Boeing Restarts 787 Deliveries to China
A new 787 Dreamliner destined for Juneyao Airlines, a privately-owned Chinese carrier, is expected to arrive in Shanghai from Seattle, as disclosed by a source familiar with the situation. The aircraft is anticipated to take off as early as Thursday, according to the same individual.
The resumption of MAX deliveries signifies a reset in Boeing’s ties with China. It presents a significant financial opportunity, enabling the company to clear many planes from its inventory. However, the delivery of the Dreamliner holds equal importance, serving as a pivotal step toward a broader breakthrough in forthcoming deliveries and orders.
Since 2019, Chinese orders and deliveries of Boeing planes have experienced a substantial suspension following two fatal 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019, leading to the MAX’s global grounding in 2019. Boeing’s premarket shares experienced a 1.9% increase.
Analysts had anticipated the recommencement of Dreamliner deliveries to China, especially following the recent report by consultancy AAP/AIR detailing preparatory flight activities for a 787 assigned to Juneyao Airlines, with registration B-20EQ.
As of Tuesday, Jefferies noted that among Boeing’s inventory of 60 undelivered 787s, twelve are specifically allocated for Chinese operators.
According to analysts, the delivery of the 787 is viewed as a potential precursor to the resumption of 737 MAX deliveries and the restoration of normalized trade relations between Boeing and China, which have been strained since the MAX crisis.
CAAC Approval to Boeing
According to The Air Current, a trade publication, Boeing secured crucial approval from China’s aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), earlier this month. This clearance allows Boeing to make preparations for the delivery of MAX aircraft.
While safety restrictions on existing MAX planes flying within China have been lifted, new deliveries have been put on hold. In response to the Juneyao news and The Air Current reports Boeing stated, “We continue to support our customers in China and will be ready to deliver for our customers when that time comes.”
On December 8, the CAAC’s deputy head conveyed to a Boeing executive in Beijing that the planemaker was encouraged to enhance its Chinese market presence, as Reuters reported. The Air Current, citing anonymous sources, mentioned that the regulator’s clearance was granted on the same day.
However, individual MAX deliveries to China still require approval from China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), according to The Air Current report.
737 MAX on Delivery to China
According to data from the flight tracking website FlightRadar24, a 737 MAX designated for China Southern Airlines (CZ) undertook a round trip from Boeing Field in Seattle to the company’s nearby facility in Moses Lake, Washington, on Wednesday afternoon.
Analysts from Jefferies and Deutsche Bank noted in investor notes that this appeared to be a customer acceptance flight—a test flight conducted by an airline pilot before the aircraft’s official delivery.
For Boeing, resuming deliveries signifies reopening opportunities in one of the world’s most critical aerospace markets. Boeing projects that this market will account for 20% of the world’s aircraft demand through 2042. This development could also contribute positively to Boeing’s $10 billion free cash flow target for 2025-2026, as the initial projection did not account for potential deliveries to China, as mentioned by analysts.
Boeing currently holds 85 MAXs intended for Chinese customers out of its inventory of about 220 planes, with most payments collected upon delivery.
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