Hobbit takes to the skies

Air New Zealand is preparing to launch a Hobbit-themed plane. Supplied picture

This Saturday Air New Zealand will unveil the Hobbit themed Boeing 777, which will sport the largest graphic ever applied to a plane.

The reveal of the flying billboard is ahead of the released of the film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Details of the unique Hobbit-inspired livery are under wraps until the official event this Saturday when the plane will emerge from the hangar for the first time in front of a group of more than 100 VIPs and invited guests.

Air New Zealand's General Manager Marketing and Communications Mike Tod says the design is stunning.

"The hobbit imagery will cover the length of the 73m Boeing 777-300ER aircraft - the longest aircraft in our fleet - it will take six days and nearly 400 man-hours to install and at 830 sq m it's the largest ever graphic to be applied to an aircraft."

The 777 will do a flyby of Wellington on Wednesday November 28 for the world premiere of film.

Earlier this month, Air New Zealand released its latest safety video inspired by the Hobbit movie and it has become an internet sensation with more than 9.5 million views.

The video was created in conjunction with the Academy Award-winning Weta Workshop (The Lord of the Rings films) and features appearances from Peter Jackson, as well as the unforgettable character Gollum, and descendants of J.R.R Tolkien, author of The Hobbit on which the trilogy is based.