Air New Zealand's newly painted Hobbit-themed plane.
Air New Zealand's newly painted Hobbit-themed plane.

Smaug revealed as Air NZ uncovers Hobbit-themed plane

SIR Peter Jackson's mythical Dragon Smaug, from the second movie in the Hobbit trilogy has been revealed today, 10 days ahead of the film's premiere.

A Boeing 777-300 aircraft with the 54 metre dragon emblazoned on both sides was unveiled in Auckland this morning, making New Zealanders the first in the world to see it.

The airline had been in discussions for some time around permission to feature Smaug on the "flying billboard" ahead of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug's official release, Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said.

"For our partners to allow Air New Zealand to reveal their star to the world is a huge privilege. We worked with Weta Digital, which designed the graphic especially for us for this purpose."

"To see Smaug fly off the big screen and into the skies like this is pretty exciting. We're proud to debut him here in New Zealand, where our team has worked so hard to bring him to life."

The aircraft will head to Los Angeles this evening, to arrive just in time for the premiere tonight local time.