After two weeks of building up the anticipation of the Boeing 737 MAX returning to China’s aviation industry, China Southern Airlines mysteriously decided to cancel the flights that the aircraft type was listed for operations. The decision to cancel also happened on the day of the flights, raising the question of whether the Boeing 737 MAX will ever return to service within China.

What happened to the comeback of the MAX?

The hint of the possibility of the Boeing 737 MAX returning to China’s aviation industry came about after three of China Southern’s aircraft were spotted being unsealed and cleaned, with mechanics and engineers working on the aircraft. The hint became a reality when the airline scheduled the aircraft type for active service.

China Southern 737 MAX

Photo: Getty Images

Initially scheduled to depart from Guangzhou’s Baiyun International Airport for the first time in more than three years, China Southern’s Boeing 737 MAX aircraft was to take off at 12:25 as CZ 3960. The flight was expected to land at Zhengzhou’s Xinzheng International Airport at 14:55. The round-trip was scheduled for October 30th.

A second flight was also scheduled for the aircraft type, operating as CZ 8724, departing from Guangzhou at 13:00 and arriving at Wuhan’s Tianhe International Airport at approximately 15:00. CZ 8724 was also scheduled to take off on October 30th. The returning leg was planned for the following day at around 16:30, with the Boeing 737 MAX operating as CZ 8727.

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Boeing 737 MAX China Southern

What does this mean for the fate of the MAX?

Unfortunately, the long-awaited day arrived only to result in the two scheduled flights being canceled. It’s to be noted that the flights were not performed with a different aircraft type instead of the Boeing 737 MAX, but they were never operated. No reasons were provided on China Southern’s website, nor was a response received at this time of writing when Simple Flying requested for comment.

Perhaps what is even more unfortunate is that the cancelations further postponed the return of the Boeing 737 MAX in China since the airline was, and still remains the only Chinese carrier that unsealed and nearly reactivated its fleet. The situation seems even bleaker since China Southern is the largest Boeing 737 MAX operator in China, with Air China housing only 16 and China Eastern Airlines housing only three.

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China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737 MAX

Although no official reasons have been given, it seems reasonable to speculate that one reason for the scrapping of the Boeing 737 MAX comeback could be because the first C919 is scheduled to be delivered in December. While the first airline customer is not China Southern, it would not take long before the Guangzhou-based airline starts receiving its orders.

Possibly, with commercial flight operations commencing so soon for the C919, the use of the Boeing 737 MAX would be made redundant as China attempts to close the duopoly of Airbus and Boeing. From now until December and even January, Chinese airlines could probably operate comfortably using other short-haul aircraft within their fleets, which could further paint the possibility of the Boeing 737 MAX returning as never.

Why do you think both flights were suddenly canceled at the last minute? Do you believe the Boeing 737 MAX will return to service in China before the end of this year? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Reuters

  • China Southern A380 Sunset (1)

    China Southern

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Beijing Daxing Airport, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

    Year Founded:

  • 787-8 Dreamliner


    Stock Code:

    Date Founded:

    Dave Calhoun

    Headquarters Location:
    Chicago, USA

    Key Product Lines:
    Boeing 737, Boeing 747, Boeing 757, Boeing 767, Boeing 777, Boeing 787

    Business Type:


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