AsiaTravelTips.com | November 26th 2003
Air New Zealand celebrates final movie in the trilogy of The Lord of The Rings with new Livery
Air New Zealand today unveiled a brand new Airbus A320 aircraft in special
The Lord of the Rings livery, ahead of next Monday's world premiere in Wellington
of the final movie in the trilogy.
The rollout of the themed aircraft coincided with the airline's announcement of a major increase in trans-Tasman flights by the new A320s during the summer.
Air New Zealand is a major sponsor of The Lord of the Rings, which was filmed in New Zealand, and is officially recognised as "Airline to Middle Earth".
The newly-painted A320 - which will fly mainly to Australia and the Pacific Islands - will serve as a "flying billboard" not only for The Lord of the Rings, but also for New Zealand tourism, which has been the big winner from the trilogy.
Featuring large images of two of the movie's stars - actresses Liv Tyler and Australia's own Miranda Otto in their roles as Arwen of Rivendell and Eowyn of Rohan - the themed A320 joins two Air New Zealand Boeing 747s and a Boeing 767 which carry different The Lord of the Rings liveries.
"After the aircraft was unveiled early this morning in its The Lord of the Rings artwork, it was soon back in service showing its new look to the travelling public," said Air New Zealand's Vice President Australia, Mr Paul Donovan.
"The A320 was completed in Auckland at 6.30am local time, and by 9.00am was on its way to Sydney to show its new livery in Australia for the first time," he said.
Today's unveiling of the themed aircraft coincided with the announcement of a significant increase in A320 flights between Australia and New Zealand, with Airbuses entering service from Australia to Wellington and Queenstown from early 2004. Their use will also be increased on services to Christchurch and Auckland.
Mr Donovan said New Zealand's spectacular natural beauty - the backdrop for all three The Lord of the Rings movies - had provided huge worldwide exposure for the country and helped to generate considerable new interest in tourism.
"We are reinforcing our commitment to New Zealand tourism by operating more flights, and by continuing to highlight The Lord of the Rings, which has attracted global attention to this destination," said Mr Donovan.
"The aircraft we have already covered in The Lord of the Rings livery have become a real talking point, and the A320 we have launched today will carry that theme into even more destinations.
"This aircraft will quickly become a common sight in Sydney and Melbourne as it and other new Airbuses progressively replace Boeing 737 and 767 aircraft on trans-Tasman routes."
Air New Zealand recently introduced the its first Airbus A320s from Sydney and Melbourne to Auckland, and on several services from both cities to Christchurch.
From 1 December, A320s will operate all 17 weekly services from Sydney to Christchurch.
From 27 January, A320 flights from Australia will increase again, to include daily Melbourne - Wellington services, and 10 weekly flights from Melbourne to Christchurch.
And from 28 February, the airline will add A320s to the Sydney - Wellington and Sydney - Queenstown routes.
Air New Zealand has placed orders for 15 Airbus A320s, to be delivered by early 2006, and has options to purchase more. Four are already in service.
The 146 seat A320s deliver a new look and feel to Air New Zealand's trans-Tasman flights with all leather upholstered seats and 28 per cent more seats than the smaller Boeing 737s which they are replacing.
"Our The Lord of the Rings-themed Airbus A320 will continue to highlight the contribution which the movie trilogy has made to New Zealand tourism," said Mr Donovan.
"And combined with our recently-launched Tasman Express service - which delivers low fares every day on every Air New Zealand flight between Australia and New Zealand - we are confident that tourist numbers will continue to grow."