Which Airlines In China Have The Boeing 737 MAX In Their Fleet?

In early July, we reported that China’s aviation regulator could be preparing to begin test flights for the Boeing 737 MAX, with people close to the matter saying that discussions had begun. Recertification of the MAX in China would be a significant step for Boeing, as the type is set to be operated by some 15 different airlines. Let’s take a look at which airlines are slated to fly it.

Air China 737 MAX
Taken in December 15, 2018, this photo shows a Boeing 737 MAX 8 delivered to Air China during a ceremony at Boeing’s 737 Completion and Delivery Center in Zhoushan. Photo: Getty Images

With 15 different operators listed as having the 737 MAX as part of their fleets, let’s go over the main Chinese customers of the type. Some of these customers have ordered the MAX for their subsidiary airlines, thus making it easier to cover more carriers.

Quantitative data in this article on deliveries and orders is sourced from ch-aviation.com, unless otherwise stated. All aircraft listed are the MAX 8 variant, unless otherwise noted.

Air China and its subsidiaries

Air China already has already taken delivery of 16 737 MAX 8s. Data from ch-aviation.com indicates that there are 13 more of these jets yet to be delivered, while Planespotters.net data indicates that number is 15.

Air China is part of the much larger Air China Group, of which several subsidiaries are also set to be operators of the 737 MAX. These airlines are:

  • Kunming Airlines: Two delivered with another two undelivered
  • Shandong Airlines: Seven delivered with nine undelivered
  • Shenzhen Airlines: Five delivered and 10 undelivered
737 MAX Getty
Shanghai Airlines is a member of the China Eastern airline group. This airline has taken delivery of 11 737 MAX aircraft already. Photo: Getty Images

China Eastern, China Southern, and their subsidiaries

China Eastern has far fewer 737 MAXs ordered than Air China. The airline has just three delivered with another three undelivered. One of the airline’s subsidiaries, Shanghai Airlines, has already taken delivery of 11 and is expecting another six.

China Southern has already taken an astounding 24 MAX 8s and is expecting 43 more. Furthermore, its subsidiary carrier Xiamen Air has already accepted 10 MAX 8s, with another 17 undelivered.

China Southern 737 MAX
China Southern’s Boeing 737 MAX aircraft parked at Urumqi airport due to the worldwide grounding of the type. Photo: Getty Images

The Hainan Airlines Group

Hainan Airlines itself has 11 737 MAX 8s already delivered. Data suggests that it does not have any additional aircraft on the way. However, there are three subsidiary airlines of the Hainan Airlines Group that are also 737 MAX operators:

  • Urumqi Air, according to Planespotters.net is expecting three. However, this does not appear in ch-aviation.com data.
  • Fuzhou Airlines has two MAX 8s and another two undelivered.
  • Lucky Air has three with one yet to be delivered.
Hainan 737 MAX
Hainan Airlines Group has a total of 16 MAX 8s delivered, with more on the way. Photo: windmemories via Wikimedia Commons

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Other carriers

There are a few other carriers not part of one of the larger Chinese airline groups. Three are listed as operators of the 737 MAX. They are:

  • 9 Air, also known as Jiu Yuan Airlines, is part of the Juneyao Group. This carrier already has one but has another three undelivered.
  • Donghai Airlines has 18 MAX 8s yet to be delivered.
  • Okay Airways has two MAXs delivered, with another six yet to be delivered.

With so many aircraft sitting grounded and unused in China (with many more on the way), operators in the country must be quite eager to have their jets recertified by civil aviation regulators. Seeing as other reputable civil aviation authorities around the world have allowed the MAX to resume passenger operations, with months of safe flights already completed, it shouldn’t be too long before China gives the green light for the type to fly again.

Do you think 737 MAX recertification in China will happen any time soon? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.