(Reuters) – Chinese aviation officials have expressed willingness to conduct flight tests on Boeing Co’s 737 MAX, potentially paving the way for the return of the best-selling jet to China, reported Thursday Bloomberg News.
Agreements on a validation flight are still being worked out and the aircraft manufacturer plans to send a team of 35 pilots and engineers to meet with officials at the end of July, according to the report, citing people familiar with the matter. (bloom.bg/3e0jZLP)
Boeing had initially hoped China would let the MAX fly by the end of 2020, but trade tensions, regulatory hurdles and the West’s attempts to counter Chinese competition are delaying its return.
The company has been virtually excluded from new orders in the world’s largest aircraft market since 2017, leading it to cut production on the long-haul 787 model.
Under the Biden administration, Boeing is stepping up efforts to convince China the plane is safe, in a bid to reset its most strategic partnership as air travel picks up from the lows of the pandemic.
“Following the approval of the FAA (United States Federal Aviation Administration) and other regulators to resume commercial operations, we have been working with other regulators as they complete their validation processes.” , said Boeing.
Still, lifting the ban could take several months after the test flight, according to the report.
Shares of the company closed 2% higher at $ 236.77, after rising sharply on high volumes following the Bloomberg report in afternoon trading.
Reporting by Shreyasee Raj in Bengaluru and Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Editing by Devika Syamnath