Ian Burns, CEO and founder of the short lived budget airline RedJet, died on Wednesday after suffering a massive heart attack in his native Ireland. He was 58. Burns, who believed the Caribbean could be unified by affordable and efficient air travel, launched the startup low-cost carrier in May 2011. The privately owned airline was incorporated in Barbados as Airone Holdings Limited by Burns and his son Robbie and began operating with a fleet of McDonnell Douglas MD-82 and MD-83 aircraft.
Initially RedJet sought to startup operations at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Jamaica. However, the airline shifted its hub to Barbados after it was denied permission by Jamaican authorities. Less than a year after its inaugural flight, on the night of March 16, 2012, the airline suspended all its services because of financial trouble. On June 8, 2012, a day after dismissing its 94 workers, Redjet announced it was insolvent. Officials of the airline blamed the governments of Barbados, T&T and Jamaica for delaying approvals and licences in flying to each other’s destinations, claiming a breach of a regional ‘open-skies’ policy. They said the delays cost the airline millions of dollars of start-up capital.
Burns was a former partner of RSM Robson Rhodes, Chartered Accountants and Financial Advisors, with expertise in corporate finance and business development.