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Boeing 737 Max Takes Test Flight In China To Reverse Ban

A Boeing (BA) 737 Max test plane entered the Chinese skies on Wednesday as the airlines was looking forward to put an end to around two-and-a-half-year regulatory grounding of the 737 Max model in one of its most important markets.

According to flight-tracking website Flightradar24, the 737 Max 7 test plane took off from Shanghai's Pudong International Airport in the morning, flying in a south-easterly direction. There was no news about which was the final destination of the aircraft.

Even though nothing was confirmed, Chinese aviation blogs put out photos showing that the flight had landed at Zhoushan Putuoshan Airport, which is around 150 km to the south.

This destination, which houses a 737 Max completion plant to install interiors and paint airplane liveries, was thought to be the final stop.

The 737 Max test plane had left Seattle last week and arrived in Shanghai on August 7 after refueling in Honolulu and Guam.

After the flight testing is completed, China's regulator will issue an aircraft evaluation report and submit it for approval before pilot training could begin, sources were quoted as saying.

The Boeing 737 Max plane is not operating in China as the trade frictions between the U.S and China have affected sales over the last few years. However, Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun is hopeful that the 737 Max will secure Chinese regulatory approval by year-end.

Earlier, China's aviation regulator had issued three requirements for the 737 Max's return to service, namely, certified design changes, sufficient pilot training and definitive findings from the crash investigations.

Worldwide, around 175 countries and 30 airline companies have okayed the 737 Max return to normal service after two-year safety ban following crashes, which killed 346 people. This crisis, along with the COVID-19 pandemic added to Boeing's financial troubles.

Boeing said, in a statement, that it was working with global regulators as they complete their validation processes on the model and hoped that the ban in China would be lifted soon.

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