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With the premiere of the latest in the Hobbit franchise being one of the most talked about tickets this month, it is no surprise that one airline has gone a little Hobbit crazy. Perhaps the World’s biggest fan of Tolkein’s works, Air New Zealand has celebrated the new film with another of their special Lord Of The Rings / Hobbit liveries. (See their latest video that came out two weeks ago)

The latest, featuring on one of their 777-300 fleet, is none other than the star of the next film. Smaug. A 54 metre long dragon is certainly an impressive thing to see in the sky, especially considering it landed in Los Angeles today in time for the premiere of the film in the US. Smaug will then ‘wing’ its way across to London on the 7th December for its premiere there.

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Interestingly, the design here is the only time the dragon has been seen in its entirety, as the first film in The Hobbit Trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, teasingly featured just Smaug’s eye, leaving it to fans to imagine for themselves how the iconic Dragon might look in filmmaker Peter Jackson’s mind’s eye. Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says the airline has been in discussions for some time around permission to feature Smaug on the ‘flying billboard’ ahead of the film’s official release.“For our partners to allow Air New Zealand to reveal their star exclusively to the world ahead of the movie premiere and theatrical release in ten days is a huge privilege.” he continued “We worked with the digital effects company behind The Hobbit Trilogy, Weta Digital, and they designed the graphic for us especially for this purpose.”

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What of the other special livery jet? In tandem the two of them will operate the Los Angeles – London Heathrow route, connecting to two major film capitals.

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Some of you may notice the broken graphic areas around the wing root. The reason for this has been hinted at in their press release. “Visual Effects Supervisor Eric Saindon of Weta Digital says designing a graphic which not only fits with Peter Jackson’s creative vision but also meets the various specifications required to fit on an aircraft was no mean feat.” and on close inspection it’s easy to see the white lines are the meeting of aircraft panels, covered in rivets.

Seeing aircraft like this really make us relive our childhood memories of the books, and we salute Weta in New Zealand for producing yet another amazing project.

Book your ticket on and travel on Smaug today! 

Posted by:Jonny Clark

2 replies on “A Flying Dragon? Can Only Be One Airline…

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