Boeing officials met China’s aviation regulator last week to review pilot training criteria for its 737 jetliners, a sign the US planemaker may finally be close to returning its MAX aircraft to regular airline service in the country. The talks were held in Zhoushan in eastern China and included a visit to Boeing’s new completion and delivery centre, the media arm of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said on Tuesday. The dispatch provided a rare glimpse into the manoeuvring around Boeing’s most important jet. After issues raised at the session are resolved, the regulator plans to issue an updated review of Boeing’s 737 narrow-body family, CAAC News said. That will mark the completion of the process required for the MAX to be reintroduced in China, the report said. No timeline was provided. Boeing shares rose less than 1 per cent to US$145.97 at 1.13pm in New York. The increase was the second largest among the 30-member Dow Jones Industrial Average. How every Boeing 737 MAX was grounded in five days The September 14 meeting occurred before Dave Calhoun, chief executive officer of the Arlington, Virginia-based planemaker, signalled that Boeing wouldn’t wait indefinitely for a thaw in US-China trade relations. Boeing’s top executive told reporters last week that the US planemaker was remarketing to other buyers a “small number” of the 140 or so already-built MAX aircraft that had been earmarked for China. “Calhoun, to his credit, did get out there and say exactly the right thing,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with AeroDynamic Advisory. “He was conciliatory, but also clearly pushing the agenda.” Returning the 737 MAX to the skies in China and resuming deliveries are crucial steps towards helping rebuild the planemaker’s balance sheet that was battered by a lengthy MAX grounding globally and the Covid-19 pandemic. China’s regulator cleared the updated 737 to resume flights last year, provided its airlines followed certain protocols in retraining pilots and bringing aircraft out of storage. While several airlines began preparations for resuming service, they were halted as Covid lockdowns dampened demand for air travel.