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Chinese airlines count the cost of 737 Max grounding

The grounding of the troubled Boeing 737 Max will rack up losses of CNY4 billion ($579 million) for Chinese carriers by the end of June.

A statement from the China Air Transport Association comes as the country's largest carriers, such as Air China, filed compensation claims with Boeing over losses sustained by the aircraft grounding.

The association says the 737 Max’s grounding has led to “significant losses” that look set to grow should the aircraft remain grounded.

It adds that it will support its member airlines’ compensation claims, and called on Boeing to “attach great importance” to these claims, and resolve them “reasonably”.

“China's [airlines] are the largest user of the [737 Max], and we are also the biggest loser from this incident,” the association says.

Cirium’s Fleets Analyzer shows that Chinese carriers operate 97 737 Max aircraft in total. China was the first country to ground the 737 Max after a fatal crash involving an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max-8 killed 157 people in March, the second fatal crash of the type.

No date has been fixed on when the aircraft type will return to service. On 23 May, the acting administrator of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told reporters it was too early to commit to a date when the beleaguered aircraft type would return to service.

Boeing said on 16 May that it has completed the software update development of the 737 Max, and is now working the FAA to schedule its certification test flight.

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