Kuwait Airways 777-300ER 9K-AOC New livery Phoenix 11338 1:400 Jan 2017

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The complexities of Middle-Eastern politics can never be left out of state owned airlines. Kuwait is one of the many Arab nations who publically refuse to acknowledge the existence of Israel, and will not even fly over Israeli air space. It’s also run into trouble in the US where it wouldn’t sell tickets to Jewish customers for the JFK-Heathrow leg of its New York service. Their answer when told they had to sell tickets to anyone? Stop operating the flight.

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For years Kuwait Airways has suffered from chronic under-investment, seeming to fall by the way-side as just about every other airline in the region went from strength to strength.  However the realities of a slowly changing world order have forced their hand. With oil prices at a record low, and unlikely to move much as production outweighs supply, combined to a huge increase in US domestic production, and the rapidly developing alternative and renewable energy sector, which is global industry now, Kuwait needs to find other ways to make it relevant. Other than sand, all it has is oil, and one of the largest Sovereign Wealth Funds in the world, investing in anything and everything.

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Airlines – modern, attractive, flag waving airlines, are the forefront of a nations ambitions, and the first thing that many visitors to a destination have any contact with. It was time finally, for Kuwait Airways to come in from the cold, so in late 2016 it began a major overhaul, timed to coincide with the delivery of the first of its 777-300ER’s.

Its’s not a big airline, just 26 aircraft in total, 10 A320, 5 A330, 4 A343, 1 744, and 6 777’s, of which 2 are 772’s and the rest new 773ER’s. This model is of 9K-AOC, the first of ten, all of which have will have been delivered by the end of 2017.

Fitted with a full four class cabin (unusual in that none of the ME3 operate W ‘premium economy’, and Turkish recently removed it, saying customers didn’t understand it), the 334 seat layout,  F8C36W54Y236, is unremarkable. The first class is more like business, business more like premium economy, and the rest are not to standard with the competition. It looks like they chose the cheapest Boeing standard seat options. However as anyone who has flown Kuwait Airways will tell you, these are positively luxurious compared to the current aircraft.

1.Fuselage

Like it or not this is the last brand new livery on a brand new 773ER we’re ever going to see. There are no new customer airlines taking delivery of the variant in the pipeline.

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That being the case Phoenix, who are pretty good most of the time with their 777 moulds, seem to have gone the extra mile with this one. Technical detail, doors, windows, external sensors, warning signs, is all excellent. The dome on the roof, another example of this finally, being placed with care, and accuracy, and actually fitting flush with the roof.

All the aerials are in place, and the correct red for the rearmost  water heater below.

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The font is neat and crisp on the new huge Kuwait logo, and all of the blues seem spot on for position, clarity, and colour. Excellent.

2.Wings and landing gear

The wings are a first-rate, almost seamless fit, an excellent mould. Over glossed paint of course, but that’s par for the course on Phoenix models.

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The landing gear doors are not perfect, looking lightly battered rather than looking as though someone went at them with a jack hammer. Better but not perfect. the hydraulics, bogies, and tyres are however, excellent.

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3.Engines

Possibly a perfect set of engines on a 777! Not a flake or mark, not issues at all in fact. The rims are not just a first-rate colour, they’re flawless, as are the fans. The nacelles too, are excellent, the blues, which are subtly shaded from dark to light, really an excellent achievement. Exhaust cones and paint are also beyond reproach.

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4.Nose detail

You know what I think about those heavy silver frames, and they keep applying them even though they don’t look like that on the real thing, but what there is, is immaculate. The entire nose area is exceptiona; all the way to the superbly done Kuwaiti national flag.

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5.Tail detail

Exemplary again, not just in fit and finish, but in the way the colours have been recreated faithfully and with stunning accuracy, all the way to the textured look of the dark blue. A first class job.

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6.Colours

A first class accurate job and no mistake, deserving of high praise. Colour is the hardest thing to replicate with accuracy, and it’s been done here without any mistakes. Gemini and JC Wings (never mind Aeroclassics), could well do with taking lessons from Phoenix. Hard to think I’m saying that, but they have come so far in the last year.  It’s my sincere hope that whoever is responsible for this stays with Phoenix after the new year break. I’d hate to think they lost the quality people they seem to have on board now.

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7.Score and conclusion

  • -2 for the less than perfect gear doors
  • 98% is a superb score again

It’s an excellent model, worth every penny and a great addition to any collection.

My recommendation: Buy! Not sure how you can go wrong with this one really. 

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