Lucky Air (China) (8L, Dali City) is preparing its three B737-8s to re-enter regular service having relocated them to Haikou Airport and putting them through a series of test flights after grounding them almost four years ago. An imminent re-entry into service would make Lucky Air the fourth China-based airline to resume MAX revenue operations.

Unluckily for Lucky Air, their three B737-8s arrived at the airline in 4Q 2018, just ahead of the global MAX grounding in early 2019. B-1143 (msn 61852) and B-206N (msn 43560) both went into long-term storage at Lijiang Airport, while B-207P (msn 43617) went to Chengdu Shuangliu Airport. The two aircraft stored at Lijiang quietly ferried to Haikou earlier this year, while B-207P ferried across from Chengdu on February 16. ADS-B data from Flightradar24 shows B-1143 to be the most active aircraft, having operated five (albeit short) flights this month.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) says that Lucky Air formally applied to resume B737 MAX operations at a meeting in Yunnan on February 2. The relevant authorities determined that the airline had to fully assess and manage any safety risks, overview the operating manuals to ensure consistency, and fully train the crews regarding the aircraft's operations and emergency procedures. The Yunnan Regulatory Bureau, which is part of CAAC's Southwest Regional Division, says efficient and standardised certification work will help streamline the return of B737 MAX aircraft.

China has 13 airlines with B737 MAX aircraft either parked, preparing to re-enter service, or back in service. China Southern Airlines lead the pack, resuming limited B737-8 flights in January. According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, it now has six of its 18 MAX aircraft back in service. Hainan Airlines resumed MAX flights earlier this month and has one of its eleven B737-8s flying, and last week Fuzhou Airlines recommenced scheduled passenger operations using one of its two B737-8s.

Other China-based airlines yet-to-resume B737 MAX flights include 9 Air, Air China, China Eastern Airlines, Kunming Airlines, Okay Airways, Shandong Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines.