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The first Boeing 737 MAX delivered to China

BEIJING: The first Boeing 737 MAX delivered to China since 2019 landed Saturday at Guangzhou’s Baiyun International Airport, according to tracking website flightradar24.

The aircraft, a 737 MAX 8 belonging to China Southern Airlines, landed at 10:23 am local time (0223 GMT).

Boeing has rated China a crucial growth market, but deliveries ceased throughout the lengthy grounding of the 737 MAX following two crashes in 2018 and 2019.

The delivery of the plane to China is a rare bright spot for the American company, which is facing intensifying scrutiny over its quality control practices in the aftermath of a near-catastrophic Alaska Airlines flight three weeks ago.

A panel blew off the Alaska Airlines plane mid-flight, leaving a hole in the fuselage and forcing an emergency landing.

That 5 January incident on a Boeing 737 MAX 9 followed months of earlier, smaller problems with the same aircraft.

The Alaska Airlines episode represents the most serious operational problem for Boeing since the crashes in 2018 and 2019, which resulted in 346 casualties.

China was among the first countries to ground the plane after the two fatal accidents involving its flight control software and was the last major Boeing market to rescind the ban.