China still has major safety concerns about Boeing Co.’s 737 Max, the deputy head of the country’s aviation regulator said Monday when asked if it was considering following others in allowing the plane to fly again.
Once issues have been fully addressed, China will conduct a final review of the aircraft, Dong Zhiyi said at a briefing in Beijing. Authorities have been in “full communication” with Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration, he said.
China, a crucial market for Boeing and the Max, was the first country to impose a ban on the aircraft after a crash in Ethiopia in March 2019 that killed 157 people. The previous October, a Max jet operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air plunged into the Java Sea, claiming 189 lives. Both disasters were partly blamed on software that pushed the planes into nosedives.
Other nations followed China’s lead on the flight ban, resulting in the Max being grounded globally for about 20 months. Several countries have certified it to fly again in recent months and it is back in service in places including the U.S., Europe and Brazil.
Australia lifted its ban on the plane last week, as did Saudi Arabia on Monday, state media reported. But China hasn’t budged.