Boeing 737 Max makes first passenger flight in China since March 2019

China is the last major market to resume flying the Max amid ongoing trade tensions with the US. - AP

BEIJING (AFP): A Chinese-operated Boeing 737 MAX took off Friday (Jan 13) from Guangzhou, according to tracking website Flightradar24 -- the first flight by a domestic airline since March 2019, when the model was grounded after two deadly crashes.

The China Southern Airlines flight took off in the afternoon for the city of Zhengzhou, the tracking website showed.

China grounded the plane after two deadly accidents involving the model in 2018 and 2019.

An Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa killed 157 people.

That accident came five months after the crash of another 737 MAX in Indonesia, where 189 people died.

The aircraft was cleared to fly again in the United States, followed by other countries, after modifications were made to the flight control software and pilot training.

In December 2021, the Chinese regulator officially judged the aircraft fit to fly again, predicting it would return to Chinese airspace by "the end of the year or early (2022)".

A Boeing 737 MAX was used by Mongolian Airlines for a round trip from Ulaanbaatar to Guangzhou in October 2022, a route which has since been repeated.

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