Irish Antarctic explorer Tom Crean will join a long line of famous faces to appear on the tail fins of Norwegian aircraft. Crean’s portrait will appear on the airline’s new 737MAX aircraft that will serve new transatlantic routes from Cork, Shannon and Dublin to the US East Coast this summer.
Many of Norwegian’s existing tail fin heroes feature Scandinavian figures but to reflect the airline’s rapid growth in other markets, a series of new tail fin heroes is now under way featuring figures from Britain, Spain and now Ireland.
Born in Co Kerry in 1877, Crean joined the British navy at 15, and in later years a chance encounter with Robert Falcon Scott saw Crean join Captain Scott’s ship ‘Discovery’ for an exploration into the unchartered Antarctica waters – the first of several by the Irishman.
During one mission Crean undertook his ‘Impossible march’ and what became recognised as the greatest act of bravery in Antarctic exploration history. Having been on the march for 1,500 miles, one of Crean’s companions collapsed 35 miles from safety – Crean volunteered to go for help, completing a final 18-hour leg of the journey alone through sub-zero temperatures. Crean’s solo exploits saved his companion and saw him awarded The Albert Medal for his heroism.
Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said: “As Norwegian prepares for rapid expansion in Ireland this summer, our ‘tail fin heroes’ offer us a perfect chance to pay tribute to some of the greatest Irish men and women of all time. Tom Crean is an unsung hero and a truly inspirational figure so it is a great honour to have him adorn our aircraft and become our first ever Irish tail fin hero.”
Tom Crean’s granddaughter Aileen Crean-O’Brien has recently been adding to the Crean family story by recreating his expedition on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia – read more here. The Crean family said: “We are delighted to honour our grandfather’s bravery and courage by bringing his name and exploits to Norwegian’s many US and European customers. As our family continues Tom Crean’s legacy with our own Antarctic exploits, we wish Norwegian the very best in their new endeavours.”
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