BEIJING (AP) — China’s aviation regulator cleared the Boeing 737 Max on Thursday to return to flying with technical upgrades more than two years after the plane was grounded worldwide following two fatal crashes, a news outlet reported.
Chinese pilots will need to complete new training before commercial flights can begin, China Aviation Daily said, citing the Civil Aviation Administration of China. Phone calls to the regulator weren’t answered.
The report displayed a copy of the CAAC's airworthiness directive.
China is the last major market where the Boeing 737 Max was awaiting approval after the United States allowed flights to resume in December 2020 and European Union regulators gave permission in January. Brazil and Canada also have given approval.
Boeing welcomed the decision.
”The CAAC’s decision is an important milestone toward safely returning the 737 MAX to service in China. Boeing continues to work with regulators and our customers to return the airplane to service worldwide,“ it said in a statement.
Boeing's shares jumped 4.25% in pre-market trading Thursday.
Governments grounded the Boeing 737 Max after a total of 246 people were killed in the crashes of a Lion Air flight in Indonesia on Oct. 29, 2018, and an Ethiopian Airlines flight on March 10, 2019.
Investigators blamed a computer system that pushed the plane's nose downward in flight and couldn't be overridden by pilots.
Boeing Co. was required to redesign the system and pilots will need to be trained on the new technology.
Earlier this year Boeing reported its first quarterly profit since 2019 and its revenue topped expectations as the giant aircraft maker dug out from the most difficult stretch in its history.
The aircraft-maker has recently reported modest gains in new airliner orders, including dozens for the 737 Max.
As recently as 2018, it booked more than 1,000 orders. That was followed, however, by the Max crashes. Boeing has also struggled with production flaws on another plane, the larger 787.