One of China’s three major state-owned airlines has joined carriers that are asking Boeing Co. for compensation after suspending use of its 737 Max jetliner following two fatal crashes.
Executives of China Eastern Airlines Ltd. said at a news conference that the carrier has “lodged claims” with Boeing over the disruption, according to Chinese news reports.
The reports by state television, the China Youth Daily and other outlets gave no financial details. But they said the impact on China Eastern was limited because the suspension came during a slow travel period.
A public relations manager for China Eastern who would give only his surname, Ye, declined to give further details.
China was among the first governments to order carriers to suspend use of the 737 Max last month following crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed a total of 346 people.
China is, along with North America and Europe, one of the biggest global markets for jetliners. That makes how Chinese carriers and regulators react to Boeing’s problems critical for the company.
Investigators suggested a flight-control system was to blame for both 737 Max crashes. Boeing says it is working on new software to get planes back in the air.
On Thursday, China’s biggest aircraft leasing company said it will decide how to proceed with planned 737 Max purchases once it sees how Boeing resolves potential problems.
State-owned China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Ltd. has ordered 100 737 Max planes but suffered no immediate disruption because it has none in its fleet, said a company spokeswoman, Song Xuan. The company buys Boeing, Airbus and other foreign aircraft and leases them to Chinese carriers.
“We expect there might be a little bit of delay in delivery, but that is not for sure,” said Song.
Boeing estimates Chinese carriers will buy 7,700 jetliners over the next two decades.
The Chinese government alternates orders between Boeing and Airbus in order to maintain competition and hold down prices.
A state-owned manufacturer also is developing a Chinese competitor to the 737 and Airbus’s A320. AP