The Air New Zealand plane adorned with images from The Hobbit. Picture: Geoffrey Thomas/The West Australian

Air New Zealand this morning unveiled its flagship Boeing 777-300ER adorned as a flying billboard for the soon-to-be-released movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in Auckland.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Rob Fyfe was lyrical about the imagery, which extends the full length of the 73 metre long plane.

“This aircraft is going to excite passengers and fans of Sir Peter Jackson’s award-winning cinema fantasies alike when it begins regular Air New Zealand services between Auckland, Los Angeles and London from this evening,” said Mr Fyfe.

“New Zealand is the home of Middle-earth and The Hobbit movies will be hugely important to New Zealand’s tourism industry in the next couple of years as international tourists are inspired to come and see and experience for themselves the landscapes which have shaped the movies.

Air New Zealand is also looking forward to having the film-inspired 777-300 make a brief spectacular appearance at the red carpet event in Wellington, just prior to the premiere on 28 November.

Sue Kroll, Warner Bros. Pictures’ President, Worldwide Marketing, said Air New Zealand’s involvement is unique.

“Air New Zealand has already proven their creativity and innovation with their delightful Middle-earth-inspired safety video, and now this extraordinary aircraft wrap. We look forward to continuing to work with them in support of the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in the months ahead.”

Sir Peter Jackson, the director of The Hobbit trilogy, said that, “it’s wonderful to see such a stunning image to celebrate The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on one of Air New Zealand’s largest international aircraft. It’s a unique representation of the innovation and creativity of New Zealanders and a great opportunity to show off the incomparably beautiful landscape of this country.”

Air New Zealand will launch a second flying billboard next year utilising another of its long haul aircraft to celebrate the second movie in the trilogy, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

The graphic took six days and nearly 400 man-hours to install and at 830 square metres it’s the largest ever graphic to be applied to a plane.

It is made up of 370 separate decals.

The West Australian

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