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Air New Zealand unveils Hobbit plane

Ahead of The Hobbit's global premiere in Wellington this Wednesday, Air New Zealand has unveiled a plane decked out as a flying billboard.

The 777-300ER "Hobbit plane" was revealed to media this morning.

It features a 73-metre canvas that Air New Zealand says is the largest ever applied to an aircraft. It took six days and 400 man hours to apply.

Departing Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe and Warner Bros senior vice president for worldwide promotions Gene Garlock oversaw the unveiling.

"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," Mr Fyfe said.

The "Hobbit plane" was scheduled to depart for London via Los Angeles after its unveiling this morning, returning to New Zealand in time for Wednesday's premiere.

Air New Zealand has already been heavily involved in promotion for the taxpayer-supported trilogy with a Hobbit-themed safety video launched November 1.

The clip has already clocked more than nine million views.

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Comments and questions

Has Weta paid for this flying billboard or are Air NZ shareholders footing the bill again?

Painting planes black made a zero return on investment so what is the net return for this?

Gollum on the New Zealand flag perhaps?
Enough already!

Fyfe has lost it. Maybe the next guy will be better.

Air NZ needs more customers and revenue that comes with margin. But Their are obvious investments for Air NZ to achieve this. Website - source of bookings and revenues - is so bad. Customer service at AIr NZ now sucks - they obviously need a significant investment to raise the standards. Aircraft interiors are old and need upgrading.

But Fyfe has money for a mural on a plane. Terrific investment - not.

But I should be charitable. Excluding Australia and the Pacific island countries, Air NZ only flies to, what, five countries? Barely an international airline.

Keep your expectations low.

It was a sad day when Air NZ decided to benchmark its product against Jetstar but without Jetstar's quality control.

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