China Southern seems to have scheduled the Boeing 737 MAX for service. As spotted by Reuters, the airline has passengers being able to book themselves onto the type for domestic flights on October 30. If the carrier does not change equipment, this would mean the return of the MAX to commercial service in China after over three years of grounding.

When Simple Flying searched the airline’s booking site on Thursday, October 27, the airline still had plans to operate the MAX between two city pairs this coming Sunday.

Departing Guangzhou for the first time in over three years

The first services that will see the reinstated MAX take flight are both out of the airline’s base in Guangzhou. One of China Southern’s 24 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft will push back from the gate at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) at 12:25 and land at ZhengzhouXinzheng International Airport in Zhengzhou (CGO) two and a half hours later, at 14:55 local time. The flight is operating as CZ3960, and the airline usually flies it with a Boeing 737-800. Meanwhile, the aircraft is scheduled for return on the same day, operating flight CZ339 and departing at 16:00.


Photo: Screenshot from China Southern booking engine

The other flight in question is CZ8724 from Guangzhou to Wuhan Tianhe International Airport (WUH). The flight leaves CAN at 13:00 and lands at WUH at 15:00 local time. This route does not have the MAX turning around on the same day. However, it is scheduled for a WUH – CAN flight the following day, on Monday, October 31, at 16:30 local time, operating as CZ8727. Prices for return flights begin at around $550, in case you know a MAX fan in either city that cannot wait to fly on the plane.

booking from china southern

Photo: Screenshot China Southern Airlines booking engine

Still, Boeing says it has had no signals for deliveries

China Southern, along with all other MAX operators in China, has kept the plane out of service since the type’s grounding following the fatal and tragic crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in October 2018 and March 2019, respectively. The airline has 24 MAX 8 aircraft in its fleet and is expecting to take delivery of 44 more, and was spotted unwrapping three of the jets earlier this month.

Meanwhile, Boeing stated as late as Wednesday that it was seeking other potential customers for its 737 MAXs destined for Chinese carriers as they are still not taking delivery of the jets they have ordered. According to AFP, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, Brian West, said Boeing was in “active discussions” with other customers who could take the 138 planes currently in inventory and ordered by Chinese clients.

China Southern MAXs lined up

Photo: Getty Images

Boeing’s Chief Executive, Dave Calhoun, said while commenting on China’s zero-tolerance COVID-19 policies that it had reduced the need for planes in general. He continued,

“We still would like to deliver airplanes to China. We continue to support our customers. But we also are clear-eyed about the geopolitical risks that are out there, and we are not going to impart new risks on our investors. (…) I have not gotten a single signal … they’re going to take deliveries in the near term.”

Source: Reuters, AFP

  • China Southern A380 Sunset (1)

    China Southern

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Beijing Daxing Airport, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

    Year Founded:


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