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SEATTLE, WASHINGTONA Boeing 737 MAX jet flew to China on Wednesday to conduct a flight test as part of the U.S. planemaker's attempt to obtain approval from the Chinese regulator after the grounding following two fatal crashes.



A Boeing 737 MAX 7 test plane took off from Boeing Field near Seattle at 8:17 a.m. local time on August 4. It landed in John Rodgers Field outside Honolulu nearly 5.5 hours later to complete the first leg of its trip across the Pacific.

Boeing and China regulators have scheduled re-certification flights and testing in the coming days, the people said. The test plane, which lacks the range for a direct flight, is expected to arrive at Shanghai's Pudong International Airport on Aug. 7, ahead of a simulator test on Aug. 8 and if all goes well a first flight test in China on Aug. 11, one of the people said.

The sources declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

"Boeing continues to work with global regulators as they complete their validation processes in order to better understand enhancements to the airplane," the spokesperson said.

Some 30 airlines and 175 countries have allowed the 737 MAX to return to service following a nearly two-year safety ban after crashes five months apart killed 346 people, plunging Boeing into a financial crisis long since compounded by the global coronavirus pandemic.

Boeing's 737 MAX remains grounded in China, where trade tensions between Washington and Beijing have cut off sales for years, though Chief Executive Dave Calhoun said last week he still expects the 737 MAX to win approval before year-end.

Before the 737 MAX was grounded in March 2019 after a second fatal crash, Boeing was selling one-quarter of the planes it built annually to China buyers. For years, simmering geopolitical tensions between Washington and Beijing have caused uncertainty.
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