AeroMexico 787-9 XA-ADD Phoenix 04138 1:400 July 2017


After the amazing Quetzalcoatl livery (reviewed here ) that won the Model of The Year Award 2016, on AeroMexico’s first 787-9, I’ve been waiting for a standard livery version. Phoenix have kindly delivered, with two versions of the same model, one registered N438AM, which along with N183AM are leased from ALC, and this model, XA-ADD which the airline owns outright, as it does the other XA- registered Dreamliners.


I always prefer to get national registrations wherever possible except on cargo aircraft where the practice of leasing , wet, damp, or dry, leads to a vast array of registrations, and the rule becomes impractical to enforce.

XA-ADD was delivered in January 2017, having first been ordered in 2012. She’s the third of six 787-9’s, the last of which will join the fleet this year. There are already 9 787-8’s in service.

The Dreamliners are the backbone of the AeroMexico fleet, the only other large aircraft are three 2006 777-2Q8ER’s leased from AerCap.


The 789’s are fitted with 36 (4 more than the 788) 1-2-1 Business, and 238 (27 more than the 788) 3-3-3 economy class. The three front rows (27 seats) of economy are designated as AM+, with 4″ (10cm) more leg room charged at an extra fee.

Somewhat controversially, in the business world, where vicious back stabbing, and criticism of business class product is considered a badge of honour, and high earners vie for boasting rights on how well Airline-X treated them, (vented in forums like Business Traveller), six of the seats were located behind the toilets and bar, and right in front of Economy AM+, giving AeroMexico 789’s no less than ten business seats affected by “toilet proximity and noise related issues”. As I so often say, it’s tough at the top.

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Both variants are fitted with the GeNex-1B, which because of Mexico City’s high altitude and heat, were chosen for their ability to deal with thinner, hotter, air.

787-9’s are used on the main European and North American routes, XA-ADD mostly New York, Amsterdam, Madrid and Paris, but others include London and the odd heavy domestic routes such as Mexico City to Cancun.

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Well as we now know, the Phoenix mould has been surpassed by the JC Wings new version (the one they don’t let Gemini have). However even so, the Phoenix one is a delight, and it’s always been their best model since it was introduced.

Once again, the paint and detail is  outstanding and there’s nothing to whine about at all! The detail is stunning all the way down to the Mexican flag with a clearly visible eagle at the centre. It’s excellent.

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Again, the problems with the large satcoms dome above door 2 seem to have been dealt with, and the mould for it is spot-on and it fits the fuselage without gaps or holes. Three upper aerials are all present and correct with one below.

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2.Wings and landing gear

The wings are almost seamlessly fitted and to the usual high standards Phoenix employ on the 787. Neat, silver leading edges, the usual over-glossed wing, but it has to be said, the detail looks a little less obscured than in the past, but not by much, so I suspect it’s merely a perception issue.

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Landing gear is excellent across the board, lump free tyres, neat hydraulics, good doors, quality nose gear.


From the side, the nacelles are excellent, the exhaust and cone is fine. The fans are a near-ideal colour and quality.

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The rims  – on the No1 engine they’re fine, but as happens so often for reasons that must have something to do with the production process, the No2 is rough around the edge, as though at some point in the factory, it rubs on something the other side doesn’t touch.

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The lack of under-body detail is an area that the older Phoenix lacks compared to the new JC Wings mould.

On a super-geeky note, the AM 788’s all have GE logos on the engines, the 789’s do not. Who decides stuff like that you may ask? Whoever their brand guardian is, someone in marketing who objected to giving GE free advertising.

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4.Nose detail

All round excellence, quality windows, cockpit, nose cone detail, and an excellent Skyteam logo.

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5.Tail detail

Perfect, paint, logo, fit & finish, outstanding.

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Mostly the correct off-white, there’s not a lot to say, but the colours that are present are excellent. I can’t find fault with it at all.

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7.Score and conclusions

  • -2 for the roughed up paint on engine No.2
  • 98%

Other than a small paint issue, this would have been perfect. It’s just where it is, face on you can see the silver isn’t right from more than the regulation 24″/60cm away. Even so it’s an excellent model and I’m generally really pleased with it.

My recommendation: Add this to your Quetzalcoatl liveried 789 and you have the perfect AeroMexico pairing. A definite buy.

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