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Boeing is significantly throttling back on production plans for 737 Max aircraft destined for China as the plane maker builds an increasingly unwieldy inventory of aircraft for the country with an uncertain timeline to begin handing over the jets, according to people familiar with the shift. 

China is in the middle of its most severe wave of COVID-19 infections since early 2020, with sweeping lockdowns across the country. That has resulted in a sharp drop in Chinese aircraft operations, as the country continues its pursuit of a COVID zero policy.

Related: CAAC clears 737 Max, but aviation in China is different 33 months later

This “approach continues to wreak havoc on domestic air travel, as abrupt lock-downs crater demand,” wrote Rob Stallard of Vertical Research Partners on March 31.

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Jon Ostrower is Editor-in-chief of The Air Current. Prior to launching TAC in June 2018, Ostrower served as Aviation Editor for CNN Worldwide, guiding the network's global coverage of the business and operations of flying. Ostrower joined CNN in 2016 following four and half years at the Wall Street Journal. Based first in Chicago and then in Washington, D.C. he covered Boeing, aviation safety and the business of global aerospace. Before that, Ostrower was editor of the award-winning FlightBlogger for Flightglobal and Flight International Magazine covering the development of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and other new aircraft programs from 2007 to 2012. Ostrower, a Boston native, graduated from The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs with a bachelor's degree in Political Communication. He is based in Seattle.

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