Air China became the sixth airline in China to start using the 737 MAX once more.
A Boeing 737 MAX 8 was used by Air China CA4132 to fly a commercial flight from Beijing to Chongqing today, according to Variflight data. After departing from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) at 12:04 and arriving at Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport (CKG) at 14:31, the flight took off at 12:04. As a result, Air China joins China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Fuzhou Airlines, and Lucky Air as the sixth carrier in China to start using the 737 MAX again for commercial purposes.
On January 13 of this year, China Southern Airlines’ CZ3960 flight from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) to Zhengzhou Airport (CGO) marked the first 737 MAX commercial flight in almost four years. Haikou Meilan International Airport (HAK) to Kunming Changshui International Airport was the destination of the Hainan Airlines HU7089 flight, which was piloted by a 737 MAX (KMG).
Fuzhou Airlines’ 737 MAX-powered FU6581 flight from Fuzhou to Zhengzhou took off on February 15th. After restarting its commercial operations, Lucky Air’s 737 MAX flew its first commercial flight, from Kunming to Fuzhou, on February 26.
In other words, four Chinese airlines began using the 737 MAX again for commercial purposes in February.
737 MAX commercial operations will be resumed gradually.
The number of flights being operated by the 737 MAX in China are currently being gradually increased, although the pace of the process is still modest.
The 737 MAX fleets of the carriers are not being restarted all at once; at the moment, just a few 737 MAX aircraft are in service with China Southern and Hainan Airlines.
According to data from ATDB.aero, China Southern’s 737 MAX fleet consists of 24 aircraft, of which 6 are currently in the air, accounting for 25% of the fleet; Hainan Airlines’ 737 MAX fleet has 11 aircraft, of which only two are currently in the air, accounting for only 18% of the fleet, meaning that both airlines have reactivated less than one-third of the total number of 737 MAX aircraft in their fleets.
With utilization times normally averaging approximately four hours and occasionally as long as eight hours, China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines typically use their six 737 MAX aircraft for one or two round trips each day. The 737 MAX 8 had a utilization rate of 8.53 hours in 2018, according to Hainan Airlines’ 2018 financial report.
The utilization rate for domestic narrowbody aircraft was 7.6 hours per day on average in February, according to data gathered by VariFlight, although the 737 MAX was not yet at that level. The prognosis
Although the civil aviation sector has quickly recovered, it might take some time before pre-pandemic levels are reached. The 737 MAX’s return won’t have much of an effect on the airlines, in their opinion.
The return of the 737 MAX won’t have a substantial impact on airlines’ operations and profitability because there is currently an excess of capacity and lower demand than there is supply. A significant number of 737 MAXs remain unaccepted by the carriers; according to Planespotters.net, China Southern Airlines has 26, Air China has 23, Shanghai Airlines has 11, and Xiamen Airlines has 25.