United Airlines is adding 25 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to its order, describing the single-aisle jet as “the right aircraft at the right time” and increasing the total order to more than 180 aircraft. Meanwhile, China has not yet cleared the MAX for return to service, citing “major safety concerns.” China was among the first countries to ground the Boeing after the second MAX crash and will be among the last to declare it airworthy again.
United’s additional 25 aircraft are slated to arrive in 2023, but the airline has “moved up” deliveries on other 737 MAX variants, adding another 40 to its delivery schedule in 2022 and five aircraft to its 2023 plans that had already been ordered. United currently has 27 MAX in inventory.
In China, Dong Zhiyi, deputy administrator of the country’s Civil Aviation Administration, said that “the technical review has not yet entered the certification and flight test stage,” according to news reports. He did not offer when the flight testing would begin or suggest a timeline for returning the MAX to commercial operations. There are around 100 MAX aircraft in the fleets of Chinese airlines.