BEIJING | China has lifted its flight ban for the 737 MAX, a specialized media said Thursday, paving the way for a return to the sky of this device immobilized for nearly three years.
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In March 2019, China was the first country in the world to order its carriers to suspend 737 MAX flights for safety reasons after two accidents in a few months that killed 346.
The day before the ban, an aircraft of this model, operated by Ethiopian Airlines, crashed shortly after take off from Addis Ababa.
The disaster, which left 157 people dead, came just over five months after another 737 MAX crashed in Indonesia, where 189 people were killed.
“The Boeing 737 MAX has recovered its certificate of airworthiness” and no longer faces “any regulatory obstacle” to fly back to China, said Thursday Carnoc.com, a Chinese site specializing in news from the aviation sector.
“However, that does not mean that the 737 MAX will immediately resume flights in China. Chinese airlines will still need time to complete aircraft modifications and pilot training. ”
Carnoc.com says it relies on an “airworthiness directive” issued by the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC). It was not immediately reachable to confirm the information, however taken up by many Chinese media.
For its part, Boeing simply told AFP that “the decision of the CAAC was an important step towards the safe return to service of the 737 MAX in China”.
This decision was eagerly awaited by Boeing, for which China is a very important market.
Last month, the Chinese regulator asked local airlines for their feedback on the technical modifications made by the American giant to its aircraft.
The regulator notably conditioned the return of the 737 MAX in the Chinese skies to technical modifications on the planes, in order to guarantee flight safety.
China is the latest major country to lift the flight ban on this device.
The 737 MAX has been cleared for flight in America and Europe again since the end of last year, but nearly a hundred are still grounded in China and around 400 aircraft had been ordered before their flight ban.
In August, however, a 737 MAX took off from Shanghai for a test flight.