Updated at 10:50 am EST
Bloomberg News reported the plan is set to resume flights in the coming weeks, but no firm date has been set for its maiden commercial flight following nearly three years of grounding by authorities in Beijing. Bloomberg cited an "operational readiness flight" from Hainan Airlines on January 9 as a signal of the plane's near-term return.
China's Civil Aviation Authority (CAAC) issued an "airworthiness directive" on December 2 that provided instructions to airline operators as to what changes are required from the 737 MAX before the planes can be included in fleet operations.
The CAAC, which grounded the MAX in 2019 following the deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, invited domestic carriers to comment on changes to the aircraft's aviation control system software and display last month after concluding it was satisfied with Boeing's modification efforts.
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Boeing shares were marked 2.8% higher in early trading Thursday to change hands at $223.75 each, a move that would still leave the stock with a six-month decline of around 2%.
Boeing said Tuesday that it closed out 2021 with net orders of 535 aircraft, just ahead of the 507 booked by its European rival Airbus.
Earlier this fall, Boeing said China, the world's second-largest economy but the largest aircraft market, would likely need 8,700 new airplanes over the next two decades, a figure that translates to overall sales of around $1.47 trillion.
A further $1.8 trillion will likely be needed to service both its existing and future fleet additions over the next 20 years, Boeing said.
Boeing's 2021 Market Outlook, its annual analysis of long-term market dynamics, sees overall demand for around 43,610 over the next two decades, a figure that represents around $7.2 trillion in value but is down from its 2019 forecast of 44,040.
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