Boeing 737 MAX Arrives In Guam En-Route To China

A Boeing 737 MAX 7 has arrived in Guam en route to China to conduct flight testing in the pursuit of recertification by Chinese civil aviation regulators. The aircraft departed from Boeing Field in Seattle on August 4th for a multi-stop journey across the Pacific Ocean. Let’s take a look at the aircraft, its journey, and what is on the agenda during its time in China.

With FAA and EASA recertification complete, recertification in China is arguably one of Boeing’s biggest hurdles yet to be conquered. Photo: Getty Images

The aircraft’s journey thus far

Departing Boeing Field (BFI) in Washington state at 08:17 on August 4th, the Boeing 737 MAX 7 registered N7201S headed to Kalaeloa (John Rodgers Field) Airport (JRF) in Hawaii as its first stop. With a flight duration of five hours and 26 minutes, the aircraft arrived in Hawaii at 10:43 local time.

After spending the remainder of the day and the full night in Hawaii, the jet then took off at 08:18 local time on August 5th, headed for its second stop, Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport (GUM) on the US overseas territory of Guam.

With flight number BOE701, the 737 MAX 7’s first leg was from Seattle to Hawaii. Photo:
Unable to fly over Russian airspace, the aircraft has had to fly a more equatorial route. Photo:

With a flight duration of seven hours and 46 minutes, the aircraft touched down in Guam at 12:04 local time. Having crossed the international dateline, the date of the aircraft’s arrival was today, August 6th.

If the aircraft were to fly the most direct route to China, it would have flown north, over Alaska, and through Russian airspace. However, as Bloomberg points out, the jet is still banned from Russian airspace. This has forced the aircraft to take “the long way around,” with the stop in Hawaii and Guam.

Onwards to China

With 15 different Chinese airlines having orders for well over a hundred 737 MAX aircraft, the stakes are high for Boeing and its stakeholders. While the recertification process in China could take months, the start of the test-flight process is certainly a big step in the right direction.

When asked about the aircraft’s journey to China, the US planemaker provided us with the following statement:

“Boeing continues to work with global regulators as they complete their validation processes in order to better understand enhancements to the airplane,” 

There are numerous 737 MAX customers in China. Photo: Getty Images

According to Bloomberg, this follows the planemaker sending a delegation of 35 pilots and engineers to China in July, in advance of simulator and flight testing. Additionally, technical officials from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have since completed their quarantine in China, allowing them to participate in the test flight process.

About the aircraft notes that this jet, N7201S is actually the very first 737 MAX 7 built. The nearly three-and-a-half-year-old aircraft has MSN 42561 and Line Number 6744.

Interestingly, although the aircraft is currently being used as a test aircraft, notes that the MAX 7 has been ordered by Southwest Airlines. This tells us that, once testing is complete, the aircraft will take on Southwest colors and fly in regular passenger service.

The aircraft heading to China via Guam is registered N7201S, shown here. Photo: Colin Cooke Photo via Flickr 

Considering the 737 MAX controversy, Southwest’s loyalty to Boeing, and the fact that this aircraft has already flown a fair bit, we’re fairly certain that Southwest got a good deal on this particular aircraft.

Will you be closely following the recertification process in China? How do you think it will go? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment.

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