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Plane crash blocks 737 MAX’s return to world’s largest market

Plane crash blocks 737 MAX’s return to world’s largest market
Boeing 737-800 aircraft landed at Wuhan International Airport, Hubei Province, Central China. Photo: AFP/VNA

According to Reuters news agency, the Boeing 737-800 plane that crashed on March 21 in southern China did not possess the technology believed to be the cause of the 737 MAX crash more than three years ago, but that It doesn’t make much of a difference to Chinese passengers either, and the country’s aviation regulator is known for its strict flight safety requirements.

China Eastern Airlines said the cause of the crash was under investigation. Such accidents are often linked to many factors, and experts warn it is too early to draw any conclusions about the potential cause, especially in a condition where information is still scarce. now on.

China was the first country to ban the 737 MAX from flying after two deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia three years ago. This is also the only market where the 737 MAX has not been returned to serve commercial flights.

Last week, according to industry sources, the 737 MAX aircraft ordered for Shanghai Airlines departed from Seattle (USA) on its way to Boeing’s complete factory in Zhushan (China). ).

However, after landing in Guam on March 15, the plane still showed no signs of moving. A Boeing spokesman said the plane had “minor technical problems”. “Our technical team has identified a technical fault and is working to resolve the issue. The aircraft will resume flight when ready,” the spokesman added.

Robert Spingarn, managing director at Melius Research, said the 737 MAX’s return to China could be delayed until authorities have an answer to the cause of the China Eastern crash. .

In fact, Chinese airlines have no need to receive any new 737 MAX aircraft because the country is facing the most severe outbreak in the past two years. Boeing has now assembled more than 140 737 MAX planes ordered by Chinese customers.

On the day of the crash, Boeing shares fell 3.6%. Boeing declined to comment on the possibility that the crash could delay the recovery of business in China.

According to aviation consulting firm IBA, the 737-800 plane that crashed is an aircraft model with a high safety record. Nearly 1,200 737-800 aircraft are in use in China, while the global total has over 4,200 in use.

After the accident, China Eastern Airlines and two of its subsidiaries suspended operations of all 225 737-800 aircraft, while other airlines in China continued to operate.

China’s aviation regulator is unlikely to issue a grounding order for the 737-800 aircraft unless they suspect a technical fault, analysts say.

However, there are concerns in the Chinese community about avoiding flying on the 737-800s until the cause of the crash is determined, Cowen analyst Cai von Rumohr said.

He noted that the leading cause of commercial air crashes tends to be maintenance issues, pilot error or environmental vandalism rather than manufacturing or design issues.

Boeing has canceled a meeting of senior executives scheduled for this week in Miami to focus on assisting with the investigation.

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