National airline emblazoned with image of dragon to celebrate the Hobbit
New Zealand's national airline unveiled a giant image of the dragon Smaug on one of its planes to celebrate the premiere of the second film in the Hobbit trilogy.
Air New Zealand showed the 177ft image that is featured on both sides of a Boeing 777-300 aircraft.
The plane is scheduled to fly to Los Angeles in time for the premiere of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, which is screening at the Dolby Theatre.
It was the first time fans got a chance to see director Peter Jackson's interpretation of Smaug. In the first film, the director revealed only the dragon's eye.
The Hobbit trilogy was filmed in New Zealand and is based on the book by JRR Tolkien.
The image unveiled today is a decal, or giant sticker, produced by special effects studio Weta Digital, which also worked on the movie.
Air New Zealand spokesman Andrew Aitken said it intends to keep the decal on the plane for at least a year, until the opening of the third Hobbit film.
The airline also used a decal to celebrate the opening of the first film.
New Zealand has sought to use the popularity of the films as a way to market itself and boost tourism.