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B-737 Max plane takes off for flight test in China

"FlightRadar24" shows the route today

The aircraft in question, owned by Boeing, could kick off the local recertification campaign, perhaps paving the way for a return to service after two and a half years of shutdown also imposed in the Asian country

The "FlightRadar24" website, which specializes in real-time flight tracking services, reports today the take-off of a B-737 Max 7 test plane, registration N7201S, which took off this morning towards south-east from Shanghai-Pudong International Airport at 9:24 local time (01:24 GMT), with no scheduled destination. According to what the Chinese press writes in these hours, although the flight tracking was incomplete, several photos on social media show how the airplane then landed at Zhoushan-Putuoshan airport, about 150 km south of Pudong (landing later confirmed by the same "FlightRadar24" as happened at 13:41). The aircraft in question had taken off from Seattle last week, and arrived in Shanghai on August 7 after having made a technical stop in Honolulu and Guam. It should be remembered that in Zhoushan, Boeing has a completion plant for the -737 Max in terms of interior fitting and livery painting.

Boeing on the indiscretion does not seem to want to make any statements. The B-737 Max was grounded around the world in March 2019, after two serious accidents (Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302) which resulted in the death of 346 people in total. Seattle's industry has since been committed to redesigning the MCAS control system, which played a crucial role in both disasters. Passenger flights to the United States with this model resumed in early 2021. But in China the model still remains grounded today even though major world economies have recertified it for service. The Asian country, among other things, was the first in the world to decree its stop after the two tragedies.

It should also be noted that for Boeing China represents the largest foreign market, and its airlines have acquired a significant number of -737 Max in the past and about 200 units would still be in order. And while Beijing has clearly stated that for the model to return to service, the aircraft will have to be authorized as fit for flight, the pilots will have to be completely retrained, and clear conclusions will have to be drawn about the two incidents that preceded commissioning on the ground, in the hopes of the president and CEO of Boeing, David Calhoun, there is a re-authorization to flights before the end of this year or at the latest by the first half of the following year since, as he himself stated, the Boeing's plan could depend on China to increase production of the -737 Max.

For details, the "FlightRadar24" tracking of all flights performed by the Max 7, registration N7201S starting from take-off from Seattle on August 4th to today's test and landing at 13:41, is available by clicking HERE.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency
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