Ahead of the first film premiere, the cast of Hobbit are primed to begin jetting around the world - on the side of an aeroplane.
Air New Zealand today unveiled its official Hobbit aircraft, which depicts characters from the upcoming fantasy adventure The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first film in the Hobbit trilogy.
It will fly between Auckland, Los Angeles and London - and will also make an appearance at the Hobbit premiere in Wellington this coming week.
Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe called the 73-metre long image ''simply stunning''.
"This aircraft is going to excite passengers and fans of Sir Peter Jackson's award-winning cinema fantasies alike.
"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."
The film-inspired 777-300 is also scheduled to make a brief appearance at the red carpet event in Wellington, just before the premiere on November 28.
"It will be fantastic to show this spectacular aircraft off to a global audience at what is certain to be one of the most highly-anticipated movie events of the year."
Sir Peter Jackson said the aircraft was eye-catching.
"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."
Earlier in the month, the airline released its in-flight safety video An Unexpected Briefing , which was created by the Academy Award-winning Weta Workshop and starred cast and crew members from The Hobbit. It has had almost 10 million views on YouTube.
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 Dominion Post
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