Charlotte Airport Battle

Airport to discuss controversial cab contract with City Council on Monday

Officials with Charlotte Douglas International Airport said Thursday they plan to present information to City Council next week about a controversial taxicab contract that some have alleged was tainted by a pay-to-play scheme under former Mayor Patrick Cannon.

City officials have said they will consider letting more cab companies pick up passengers at the airport in the wake of the allegations, though any changes would likely take many months. Currently, three companies have the exclusive contract.

“We take all of the comments seriously,” Brent Cagle, interim executive director of the Charlotte Airport Commission, said at the group’s meeting Thursday. He was referring to the accusations from taxi companies that lost out on the contract that they were solicited for money by an alleged Cannon associate and the head of a local tourism association.

Charlotte Douglas officials will detail how companies were selected in 2011 for the taxicab contract and lay out options on Monday.

While the 13-member commission has met regularly since November, it remains in suspended animation, blocked by a judge from actually running the airport. Until the city’s lawsuit against the commission is resolved, the commissioners can only meet and discuss Charlotte Douglas.

Republicans in the N.C. General Assembly created the commission to run Charlotte Douglas last July, claiming that the city was meddling in airport affairs.

Gov. Pat McCrory, speaking at the Charlotte Business Journal’s annual energy conference Thursday, reaffirmed his belief that the city should run the airport.

“I don’t want this issue to go to the courts,” he said. McCrory said he went to Phoenix several months ago to reassure American Airlines CEO Doug Parker about the airport’s stability.

Observer reporter Bruce Henderson contributed.

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