May 20, 2022
A China Eastern plane

China Eastern Airlines has resumed commercial flights using its Boeing 737-800 jets, less than a month after grounding its fleet in the wake of a crash that killed 132 people.

The airline confirmed the decision today, saying it had conducted systematic tests, structural checkups and verified the airworthiness of each individual aircraft, and that test flights would also be carried out before the resumption of commercial services.

Boeing 737-800 planes manufactured around the same time as the one that crashed on March 21st are undergoing additional checks and will not be among the first to retake to the skies, the company added.

Data from Flightradar24 data that China Eastern flight MU5843 took off from the southwestern city of Kunming at 09:58 local time, and is believed to be the first 737-800 flown by the firm since last month’s tragedy.

The data also showed that another 737-800 conducted a test flight in Shanghai this morning.

Disaster unfolded in March as flight MU5735 crashed in the south China countryside, killing all 123 passengers and nine crew members on board. It was the deadliest aviation disaster in mainland China for 28 years.

China has confirmed it managed to retrieve both black boxes from the flight and is preparing a report for the ICAO, the UN aviation agency.