Hainan Airlines (HU, Haikou) has resumed commercial B737 MAX flights, with a B737-8 operating a roundtrip scheduled passenger service between Haikou and Kunming Changshui on Wednesday, February 1, 2023. Hainan Airlines becomes the second China-based airline to restart MAX flights after China Southern Airlines (CZ, Guangzhou) began reintroducing some of its MAX aircraft in December.

FlightRadar24 ADS-B data shows B-207H (msn 60706) operated flight HU7089 to Kunming and the return service HU7090 to Haikou on Wednesday. The aircraft also operated a series of test flights in and out of Qionghai in the latter days of January before ferrying to Haikou on January 31.

Hainan Airlines operates a fleet of eleven B737-8s. According to ch-aviation fleets data, all were acquired over the 2017/18 period. Seven of the planes arrived on operating lease and four were purchased by or for the airline. A second B737-8, B-1388 (msn 62199), has recently moved out of storage at Haikou and into a maintenance facility there and has conducted some test flights, the most recent on December 28, 2022, suggesting that aircraft is the next B737-8 the airline will put back into service.

China grounded B737 MAX flights in March 2019 and lifted the ban in December 2021 but Chinese airlines were slow to bring the plane back into service. In addition to Hainan Airlines, there are 13 China-based airlines with MAX aircraft in their fleets, including 9 Air (one B737-8); Air China (sixteen B737-8s); China Eastern Airlines (three B737-8s); China Southern Airlines (twenty-four B737-8s of which four have returned to service); Fuzhou Airlines (two B737-8s); Kunming Airlines (two B737-8s); Lucky Air (China) (three B737-8s); Okay Airways (two B737-8s); Shandong Airlines (seven B737-8s); Shanghai Airlines (eleven B737-8s); Shenzhen Airlines (five B737-8s); and Xiamen Airlines (ten B737-8s). Boeing's order book data indicates it has 103 outstanding MAX orders for China-based airlines, however, that figure does not take into account MAX aircraft Chinese carriers plan to acquire via other sources.