China The aviation authority on Thursday cleared the Boeing 737 Max to fly again with technical upgrades, more than two years after the plane hit the ground after two fatal crashes around the world.
China is the last major market the Boeing 737 Max waited for approval after the United States approved resumption of flights in December 2020 and European Union regulators approved in January. Brazil and Canada have also agreed.
Governments laid the Boeing 737 Max on the ground after a total of 246 people were killed on October 29, 2018 on a Lion Air flight in Indonesia and on March 10, 2019 on a Ethiopian Airlines flight.
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The investigators blamed a computer system that pressed the aircraft’s nose down during flight and could not be overridden by pilots.
Chinese pilots must undergo new training before commercial flights can begin, the Chinese civil aviation authority said on its website. Boeing Co. is obliged to install additional software and components.
“CAAC considers the corrective actions to be appropriate to address this unsafe condition,” said the agency in an airworthiness directive.
Boeing shares rose 4.25% in pre-market trading on Thursday.
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“The CAAC’s decision marks an important milestone in the safe return of the 737 MAX to service in China,” Boeing said in a statement. The company was said to be working with regulators “to get the aircraft back into service around the world”.
Boeing dismissed the CEO Dennis Muilenburg, who was responsible for the development of the 737 Max. In a settlement of a shareholder lawsuit, the company agreed to add a board member with a background in aerospace engineering or product safety and establish a safety ombudsman.
Boeing, headquartered in Chicago, had to redesign the system during a process overseen by an unusually wide range of regulators from the United States, Europe, China, and the Middle East.
According to state media, China has the largest 737 Max fleet after the US with 97 aircraft that were operated by 13 airlines before the suspension.
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China is particularly important to Boeing and its European rival Airbus Industrie as they count on the growing travel market to fuel sales growth. Demand in North America and Europe is expected to stagnate in the coming decades.
In January, Boeing reached a $ 2.5 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice to avoid prosecution for misleading regulators over the Max’s safety. Most of the money goes to airlines that bought the jets.