China clears Boeing 737 Max to return to skies

China's aviation regulator on Thursday approved the Boeing 737 Max to return to service in the country, more than 2 1/2 years after use of the aircraft was suspended following two fatal accidents caused by design flaws and a lack of proper training.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) gave instructions to airline operators on revisions that will be required before the 737 Max will be able to return to service, Reuters reported. The CAAC did not specify when exactly the ban on the aircraft will be lifted.

The CAAC was the first aviation regulator to ground the Boeing 737 Max following deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019 in which more than 300 people died overall. Numerous other countries ultimately followed suit, including the entirety of the European Union.

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"After conducting sufficient assessment, CAAC considers the corrective actions are adequate to address this unsafe condition," the aviation authority said.

Boeing celebrated the CAAC's decision as an "important milestone" toward returning to service in China, according to Reuters. The news agency noted that other countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, India and Japan have already approved the 737 Max to return to service.

"The CAAC's decision is an important milestone toward safely returning the 737 MAX to service in China," said Boeing. "Boeing continues to work with regulators and our customers to return the airplane to service worldwide."

According to Boeing, roughly a third of the 370 undelivered 737 Max aircraft are meant for Chinese customers.

In October, a former Boeing pilot, Mark A. Forkner, was indicted by a federal grand jury in the U.S. for allegedly giving false and incomplete information to the Federal Aviation Administration about the 737 Max's flight control system. Prosecutors alleged that Forkner misled regulators in order to save Boeing money.