Boeing’s Much-Awaited 737 Max Deliveries To China Face Further Delays After Alaska Airlines Incident – Boeing (NYSE:BA)

Boeing Co.‘s BA long-anticipated resumption of 737 Max jet deliveries to China has hit another snag following the Alaska Airlines incident.

What Happened: Boeing’s attempts to restart the delivery of its 737 Max jets to China have encountered fresh obstacles in the wake of the Alaska Airlines incident, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

The incident, which saw a section of the aircraft ripped off midair, has prompted China Southern Airlines – one of the Chinese carriers expecting the delivery of Boeing’s planes – to conduct additional safety inspections, despite the delivered jets not being of the same variant as Alaska’s MAX 9.

It remains unclear how long these additional inspections could take, adding further uncertainty to the timing of the deliveries, which have been halted by Beijing since the 737 MAX 8’s two fatal crashes.

Boeing’s ability to restart the deliveries of 737 MAX jets is seen as a crucial step in getting its China business back on track. The Chinese market is expected to account for a fifth of global airplane deliveries over the next 20 years. However, this recent delay is the latest in a series of setbacks for Boeing in China.

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Why It Matters: Boeing’s relationship with China has been tumultuous in recent years. In 2019, China was among the first countries to ground the 737 MAX 8 following two fatal crashes, a decision that affected nearly 100 jets operated by Chinese carriers. Despite Boeing’s efforts, the resumption of deliveries has been slow, with almost 85 737s awaiting delivery to China as of September 2023.

A turning point was the Biden-Xi summit in November, which aimed to stabilize turbulent bilateral relations. Weeks later, a Boeing executive announced that China had approved its delivery. However, this latest delay due to the Alaska Airlines incident adds to the uncertainty surrounding Boeing’s operations in China.

Previously, in December, all Boeing 737 MAX jets under Chinese airlines resumed operations, marking an end to their worldwide grounding since 2019 following two fatal crashes. However, the U.S. grounding of over a hundred Max 9 airplanes following the Alaska Airlines incident is expected to add to Boeing’s challenges.

Image created using AI via Dall-E

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