China’s civil aviation regulator is discussing with Boeing a restoration plan for 737 Max services, but is yet to be satisfied to the extent necessary to advance the type’s return to operation.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China’s deputy director, Dong Zhiyi, disclosed the state of progress during a State Council Information Office briefing on Chinese transportation network planning on 1 March.
He said that the CAAC was reviewing flight-test planning with Boeing, and that the regulator has maintained contact with the FAA and the US airframer since the Max grounding in March 2019.
“Once the major safety concerns raised by us are resolved, the flight certification tests will be carried out in a step-by-step process,” he added.
Dong stresses that the CAAC has “repeatedly” outlined three conditions for return-to-service of the Max: the aircraft must be cleared as airworthy, pilots must be fully retrained, and clear conclusions must be drawn from the two accidents that preceded the grounding.
“The major safety concerns raised by the CAAC have not yet been fully resolved,” he says, with the result that the Chinese recertification flight-test phase has yet to commence.
Several Chinese carriers had been operating 737 Max jets before the grounding, and around 100 have been parked by companies including China Southern Airlines, Air China, Hainan Airlines, Xiamen Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Lucky Air, Kunming Airlines, and others.
Both the FAA and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, as well as a number of other national regulators, have cleared the 737 Max to re-enter service.