Boeing MAX Update: United Says Yes, China Says Not Yet


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.

Marc Cook
KITPLANES Editor in Chief Marc Cook has been in aviation journalism for more than 30 years. He is a 4000-hour instrument-rated, multi-engine pilot with experience in nearly 150 types. He’s completed two kit aircraft, an Aero Designs Pulsar XP and a Glasair Sportsman 2+2, and currently flies a 2002 GlaStar.

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  1. I follow the 737 MAX debacle very closely.

    All I’ve seen is PR, but talk is cheap.

    I haven’t seen any addressing of the fact the software was outsourced to low-paid programmers. This is not how safety-critical software systems should be developed and managed.

    Makes me wonder if Boeing mgmt. even wants to be in the passenger airline business at all, with Spirit making the fuselages and some nobody the software.

  2. We hear you James! Loud and clear, but is anyone listening, or are they blind too?

    We really look forward to the MAX issue to get behind us as we flew on a MAX and thought it was a wonderful machine worthy of 21st century transportation.

  3. The autopilot software is not ‘outsourced.’ The whole autopilot computer is a Rockwell Collins product produced to Boeing’s design spec with Rockwell Collins engineering and DO178b software processes which includes rigorous testing of the implementation.