The Chinese government may be close to lifting a commercial freeze on Boeing Co.’s 737 Max jetliner, with an announcement possible at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in San Francisco this week.
The deal could be announced to time with Wednesday’s meeting of President Joe Biden and China’s president Xi Jinping at the APEC meeting, in a show of improved relations between the countries, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The potential deal is still being discussed and may not happen, those sources added. As well, Xi is not expected to announce a formal order for those planes, they added.
hasn’t logged any major sales of the 737 Max in China since 2018. The aircraft was grounded globally after two deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019, and the Federal Aviation Administration didn’t approve changes in the design and allow it to fly again until nearly two years later.
Tensions between the U.S. and China have also weighed on Boeing’s efforts to revamp sales in the country.
A spokesman for Boeing declined to comment on the report. MarketWatch has also reached out to China’s Foreign Ministry for comment.
In late August, Bloomberg reported that two 737 Max aircraft slated for China had been removed from storage and readied for delivery, citing sources who had expected handovers “within weeks.”
As of end July, Boeing had 118 unfilled Max orders all destined for China, 34 of those for China Southern, with orders for 25 wide-body 777 jets as well as 11 “Dreamliner” 787 models from Chinese airlines, according to BC Capital analyst Ken Herbert. Boeing’s 2023 guidance and further out doesn’t include any China sales, he said.