Beijing - Air China has taken possession of the first of 44 Boeing 737 MAX 8s expected. A first in China, where the re-engineered single-aisle model has accumulated nearly one hundred orders to date.

Boeing will also open a finishing and delivery center at the end of 2018 in Zhoushan, to better meet Chinese demand.

On November 3, 2017, the Chinese national carrier took possession at Everett of its first 737 MAX 8, as part of the 2014 order for 60 737 NG and 737. The new aircraft was configured to accommodate 8 passengers in Business class and 168 in Economy (against 8 + 159 in its more than 120 737-800 in service). The routes on which the MAX 8 will be deployed have not been detailed.

Boeing said in a statement that the Star Alliance company is a long-time partner, whose fleet includes seven 747-8i, 26 777-300ER, eleven 787-9 Dreamliner (out of 15 expected) and more than 140 single-aisle 737 NG. Rick Anderson, VP Sales Northeast Asia, said this delivery marks a new milestone in their partnership with Air China. "We are confident that the MAX 8 will play a key role in the continued growth of Air China," he said. Boeing will also open a finishing and delivery center at the end of 2018 in Zhoushan, to better meet Chinese demand estimated at more than 5400 single aisles by 2036.