3 Chinese airlines demand compensation from Boeing over 96 grounded Max 737s

Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines have also sought pay-outs due to delayed delivery of previously ordered new aircraft from the America-based manufacturer of commercial jetliners.

Beijing: China's three biggest airlines, which grounded 96 Max 737 Boeing aircraft after the Addis Ababa crash in March, formally demanded compensation on Wednesday from the Boeing Company over the long-period grounding of their aircraft.

Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines have also sought pay-outs due to delayed delivery of previously ordered new aircraft from the America-based manufacturer of commercial jetliners.

China Southern is Asia's largest carrier by fleet size, China Eastern is the country's number two, while Air China is the state flag carrier.

According to Boeing estimates, Chinese carriers will buy 7,700 jetliners over the next two decades.

The Chinese government ensures placing orders between Boeing and Airbus in order to maintain competition and hold down prices.

The grounding of Boeing 737 Max 8 planes has resulted in great losses for the company, and the losses are still expanding, the China Eastern Airlines noted.

The Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines said it had suspended commercial flights of 24 737 Max aircraft since March 11 and requested a negotiation with Boeing over the compensation plan as soon as possible.

China's carriers own a total of 96 737 Max 8 planes, with 14 belonging to the China Eastern Airlines and 15 to Air China, state-run Xinhua news agency said, citing data from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

Last month, China was invited by the US Federal Aviation Administration to review the safety of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

"To resume operation of 737 Max 8 jetliners, we have to ensure the absolute safety of the planes," said Xu Chaoqun, an official with the CAAC.

China was the first to halt the commercial operations of all Boeing 737 Max 8 airplanes after two fatal crashes.

On March 10, a 737 Max jetliner of Ethiopian Airlines crashed shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board, including 8 Chinese.

It was the second crash of the new aircraft after one operated by Indonesia's Lion Air crashed in October last year, triggering global scrutiny and bans on operating Boeing 737 Max aircraft.