Boeing 737-800: What we know about the plane that crashed in China

The cause of Monday’s accident has not yet been determined. The plane had been in operation since 2015. The plane, operated by China Eastern Airlines, was flying from the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming to Guangzhou when it crashed.

Here’s what we know about the plane.

The crashed China Eastern Airlines plane was a Boeing 737-800. It is the most common version of Boeing’s jets now in operation, and it is the workhorse of many airlines’ fleets.

The tracking services FlightAware and Flightradar24 reported that this aircraft is China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft that crashed on Monday with 132 people on board.  This is a file image taken on a Chinese asphalt in February 2022.
There are 4,502 of the 737-800s now in operation worldwide, according to aviation research firm Cirium, making it by far the most common Boeing aircraft in use today. It is the most common aircraft model in the United States, where there are 795 in service, as well as in China, which has 1,177 in service. And it is the second most common aircraft in use worldwide, only after the A320 made of Boeing (BA) competing Airbus (EADSF).

The 737-800 is an older model aircraft that has been replaced by the 737 Max.

Past security issues

Boeing started deliveries of the 737-800 in 1998, but has not delivered a civilian version of the aircraft since two trains to China Eastern in January 2020.

The Boeing 737-800 is part of a class of Boeing jets known as the 737-NG. The “Next Generation” planes have had safety issues mentioned by US regulators, although none of them rose to the level that they required the planes to be grounded.

In 2018, a single passenger was killed on a Boeing 737-700, the second aircraft in the Next Generation family. In that accident, an engine fan blade broke on a Southwest Airlines plane and caused part of the engine cover to hit the side of the plane. It smashed one of the windows and the cabin quickly became depressurized. The crew was able to land the plane safely, but a woman sitting next to the window was killed.

In 2019, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that Boeing redesign some of the jet engine’s covers to prevent them from flying into the aircraft in the event of a similar malfunction. Boeing agreed to make the change.

Chinese passenger plane with 132 people crashes in southern China
In some older aircraft, a part used to hold the wings in place showed cracks. These cracks temporarily grounded a handful of the 737 NGs.
Other fatalities involving 737-800s have occurred when planes landed in bad weather and missed or slipped off the runways. Another was shot out of the sky by a missile in Iran in 2020.

There has been no fatal accident with a Chinese airline since 2010, according to the Aviation Safety Network. Boeing issued a statement on Monday stating that it is cooperating with both US and Chinese security authorities.

“Our thoughts go to the passengers and crew of China Eastern Airlines Flight 5735,” said the aircraft manufacturer. “We are working with our airline customer and are ready to support them. Boeing is in contact with the US National Transportation Safety Board and our technical experts are ready to assist with the investigation led by the Civil Aviation Administration of China.”

737 Max

The Boeing 737 Max suffered two fatalities, in 2018 and 2019, which turned out to be caused by a design flaw and led to a global grounding of the aircraft.
These crashes resulted in the 20-month grounding of the 737 Max, which cost Boeing tens of thousands of billions of dollars.

The 737-800 does not have the feature that caused the 737 Max crash.

– CNN’s Richard Quest, Yong Xiong and Helen Regan contributed to this report.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified a crash in 2014 as one involving a 737-800

Leave a Comment