TAXI bosses have threatened to take the owners of Glasgow Airport to court after they ripped up their money-spinning contract.
For the past four years, Glasgow Airport Taxi Ltd have provided cars for the Paisley-based terminal to shuttle passengers home after holiday jaunts.
Now airport operators BAA have slammed the door on that contract after deciding to take the taxi service in-house.
That has left the taxi firm’s 180 drivers in limbo, with a spokesman claiming they have no idea if workers will be able to transfer their cab licences to the new BAA project.
Henry Glasgow, managing director of Glasgow Airport Taxi Ltd, said: “I am absolutely devastated to be informed that our bid to continue managing the airport taxi service has been rejected, especially as we have provided a seamless operation for more than four years.
“We were shocked and completely taken aback to be informed that BAA were taking the operation in-house, given that at no stage in the renewal tendering process was this raised as an option.
“We are outraged at this unjustified decision and are now in consultation with our legal advisers. We will be demanding a full and thoroughly transparent investigation.”
Last night, a spokesperson for Glasgow Airport defended the move.
“We have decided to take the management of the taxi contract in-house,” added the spokesperson. “This decision was reached as part of a wider review of the management of our forecourt.”
The airport taxis row follows a controversial bidding process that saw a Paisley businessman who has been linked to underworld figures set his sights on the big-bucks deal.
Stevie Malcolm – dubbed ‘The Fat Controller’ after building up a string of taxi firms – was linked to two companies that were keen on landing the lucrative contract.
He is well-known in Renfrewshire’s business scene as a director of Paisley Cab Company, while his ex-wife Julie Malcolm ran Barrhead-based Compass Cabs.
Both firms were shortlisted for the multi-million pound taxi contract at the Paisley terminal, which is Scotland’s biggest airport, before losing out when BAA decided to take on running the taxi service itself.
Other firms to lose out include Spyglass and First Taxi.com.
Dad-of-one Mr Malcolm, 48, is among Scotland’s wealthiest and most colourful entrepreneurs.
He was an associate of feared crime baron Tam ‘The Licensee’ McGraw, who died in 2007, and is a former pal of convicted Paisley drug baron Grant Mackintosh.
Over the years, Mr Malcolm has built up a portfolio of properties throughout Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Perthshire.
Four years ago, he built Scotland’s most expensive home at Gleneagles, costing £9million.
In March 2010, the first hearing under new legislation to weed out criminals in the taxi trade allowed Compass Cabs – which had shareholder links to McGraw – to continue trading.
East Renfrewshire Council awarded the firm a radio base licence after their legal team argued that a major shareholder with criminal associations was no longer connected to the company.
Accounts of Compass Cabs showed that John ‘Joker’ McCartney – McGraw’s right-hand man – was a shareholder.
Other shareholders included Mr Malcolm’s ex-wife, who has made millions from taxis after buying Glasgow Private Hire – previously known as MacCabs – from McGraw’s wife.