BRIDGETOWN: Ian Burns, the founder of Redjet, the airline that was the flag carrier of Barbados, has died.
Burns, 58, died from a massive heart attack in his native Ireland last Wednesday.
He founded Redjet in 2010, with one-way fares as low as US$9.99 across regional destinations.
Though widely popular among Caribbean commuters, the airline never got the institutional support sought from regional governments, said Barbadian businessman, Ralph “Bizzy” Williams. Redjet ran into financial problems and collapsed in 2012.
“The man came to Barbados, he tried to set up a regional airline,” said Williams. “He was frustrated non-stop by technocrats, here and in the other islands. And I guess he died of a broken heart. His heart failed him, and having to go back to Ireland to face all the people who invested in his project would have been a tough time for him. He was not a guy who was trivial with people’s money. We are now paying the price in the Caribbean.”
On the day Burns died, Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Authority, Adrian Elcock, lamented the loss of Redjet, noting the dramatic reduction in visitors from the region to Barbados.
“We’ve had a huge hole in the Caribbean since the demise of Redjet,” said Elcock in an address to hotel officials in Barbados. “We must get Caribbean Airlines and LIAT to work with us and allow us to develop competitive fares and packages to support our expansion in the region. With a little cooperation and help from government, Redjet would be flying today.”