The first Boeing plane delivered to a Chinese airline since 2019 landed in Shanghai on Friday, according to tracking site flightradar24.
Boeing said on Thursday that the 787 Dreamliner plane was being delivered to Juneyao Airlines.
The jet departed from Everett, Washington, and landed at Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 4:25 pm local time (0825 GMT), data from flightradar24 showed.
Boeing has rated China a crucial growth market, but deliveries ceased throughout the lengthy grounding of the 737 MAX following two crashes.
China was among the first countries to ground the plane after two fatal accidents involving its flight control software in 2018 and 2019, and was the last major Boeing market to rescind the ban.
Boeing executives have at times suggested that diplomatic tensions between Beijing and Washington played a role in the pause on deliveries of new jets even after Chinese officials moved to allow MAX planes already in China to resume service.
In addition, China’s zero-tolerance Covid-19 policies in the first three years of the pandemic had “reduced demand for airplanes in general”, Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun said last year.
Calhoun said in July that while Boeing is “not dependent” on more China deliveries, the US company was hopeful that it could soon hand new planes to Chinese carriers.
Boeing has some 85 737 MAX jets that are already built, but not delivered to designated Chinese carriers.
“We continue to support our customers in China and will be ready to deliver for our customers when that time comes,” a Boeing spokesperson said Thursday of the MAX.
– Domestic challenger –
Beijing abruptly dropped its strict travel curbs a year ago, with domestic and international travel rebounding in recent months.
Pre-booked international trips were 20 times higher during China’s annual October holidays than in the same period last year, and domestic trips over four times, according to data from Trip.com, China’s largest online travel provider.
Boeing in September forecast that China will need 8,560 new commercial planes through 2042, accounting for 20 percent of the world’s airplane demand.
But Beijing hopes its new domestically produced passenger jet, the C919, will challenge foreign models like the Boeing 737 MAX and the Airbus A320, though many of its parts are sourced from abroad.
The C919 made its debut outside mainland China earlier this month when it was put on display at Hong Kong International Airport.