Air New Zealand has launched a new Hobbit-themed aircraft in celebration of the much anticipated release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

A Boeing 777-300ER now shows an imposing picture of Gandalf and a backdrop of the Sir Peter Jackson film, to premiere in Wellington next week.

The canvas stretches 73m in length - making it the largest graphic to be applied to an aircraft. It took 400 man-hours to install.

The aircraft will be revealed for the first time to a select group of guests in Auckland this morning.


It is one of several Air New Zealand have dedicated to various causes over the years, including one made for Jackson's Lord of the Rings series, and the All Blacks.

Sir Peter Jackson's latest film will premiere in Wellington next Wednesday.