The cause of Monday’s crash has yet to be determined. The plane had been in service since 2015. The flight, 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 aircraft.
The crashed China Eastern Airlines plane was a Boeing 737-800. It’s the most common version of Boeing’s jets now in service, and it is the workhorse of many airlines’ fleets.
The 737-800 is an older model aircraft that has been replaced by the 737 Max.
Previous safety issues
Boeing started deliveries of the 737-800 in 1998 but has not delivered a civilian version of the plane since two went to China Eastern in January 2020.
The Boeing 737-800 is part of a class of Boeing jets known as 737-NG. The “Next Generation” planes have had safety issues cited by US regulators, although none of those rose to the level of requiring the planes to be grounded.
In 2019 the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that Boeing redesign part of the jet’s engine covers to prevent them from flying into the plane in the event of a similar malfunction. Boeing agreed to make the change.
There has not been a fatal accident with a Chinese airline since 2010, according to the Aviation Safety Network. Boeing issued a statement Monday saying it is working with both US and Chinese safety authorities.
“Our thoughts are with the passengers and crew of China Eastern Airlines Flight 5735,” the plane maker said. “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 prepared to assist with the investigation led by the Civil Aviation Administration of China.”
The 737 Max
The 737-800 does not have the feature that caused the 737 Max crashes.
— CNN’s Richard Quest, Yong Xiong and Helen Regan contributed to this report.