Air New Zealand welcomes Smaug on board!

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With The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug out in theaters in next week, Air New Zealand has released their second 777-300 aircraft featuring Smaug and his 177 feet body covering both sides of the plane. It landed in Los Angeles on Monday in time for The Hobbit’s LA premiere, and we were there to cover it.

Last year, Air New Zealand featured the Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and the 13 dwarves on their plane (which is still currently running), and this year it was decided that Smaug would get his own plane.

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Today’s event had Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon, New Zealand’s Associate Minister of Tourism Honorable Chris Tremain, Warner Bros spokesperson Blair Rich, The Hobbit director Peter Jackson, and two of the actors from the trilogy, Dean O’Gorman (Fili) and Aidan Turner (Kili). They each expressed excitement in the partnership with Air New Zealand, New Zealand Tourism and WB’s The Hobbit trilogy.

A Nightlong Day - Trey Ratcliff for AirNZ-X2

Both the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogy have been shot all over New Zealand. Peter Jackson, a New Zealander, knew that only New Zealand could offer the landscape to create a fantasy world with its endless mountains, lakes and beautiful scenery.

When I asked if there would be a possible Tolkien theme park in the works in New Zealand, the Honorable Tremain stated, “All of New Zealand is a theme park. There are themes and different things to see when you travel around the country.” With over 150 locations in New Zealand used for the trilogies, wherever you go, you are in Middle Earth. If you do want to see a bit of the Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit set, Hobbiton was created as an attraction to those who wanted to see The Shire.

So how should you get there to see this beauty? Well, Air New Zealand, of course!

Skycouch Bored Alone - Trey Ratcliff for Air NZ-X2

Air New Zealand has kicked the Hobbit theme into gear! Their safety video and ads for Air New Zealand follows the Tolkien theme hilariously and brilliantly.

I spoke with Luxon regarding their Hobbit theme. Other than the Smaug wrap, were there any other Hobbit goodies for their passengers? He commented, “We actually have a amenities kit themed with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” And yes, they do! Elven socks and a Smaug eye mask!

hobbitI tried to get the scoop on what next year’s possible picture for the aircraft in honor of The Hobbit: There and Back Again. Luxon commented, “We always have plans but I am not prepared to reveal what they are yet. We haven’t really thought it through, but we are focused on the second movie.”

We just need to wait till next year’s The Hobbit: There and Back Again to see who will be flying the skies with Air New Zealand.

AirNewZealandHobbit9Till then, if you see a dragon in the sky, don’t be afraid. It’s just the dragon Smaug.

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