DG Cars takes East Midlands contract as Arrow Cars scales back airport work

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Nottingham-based DG Cars has made a major strategic acquisition with the takeover of Arrow Cars East Midlands. The move gives DG the contract to operate the official taxi service from East Midlands Airport operation, and includes the former Arrow Cars operation in Hucknall.

The move sees Leeds-based Arrow Cars exit from a second airport contract in as many months following its decision to resign from its contract to serve Birmingham Airport, citing a lack of drivers as the problem.

Arrow Cars has diversified into food distribution and retailing during the pandemic, setting up the successful Arrow Fresh business in 2020 in response to a collapse in its taxi services, which are largely airport-based. It also serves Leeds-Bradford, Bristol and Newcastle Airports.

DG Cars has also diversified into food delivery via its DG Delivery business, another pandemic move, which won it two Gold Awards at Professional Driver’s QSi Awards last month.

In a statement, DG said: “This acquisition will enable us to improve services to both riders and drivers at East Midlands Airport, ensuring resources to cover all existing work while developing services further.”

Last month Arrow Cars wrote to its Birmingham-based drivers to announce the immediate closure of its Birmingham Airport contract. Arrow won the contract in 2018, becoming the first private hire company to serve the airport as an alternative to black cabs.

The company wrote: “It has been apparent for a significant period that we do not have sufficient drivers to perform our contract with Birmingham Airport. Our contract wit the airport has now terminated. We fully appreciate the shock this will cause but there is nothing we can do.”

Around 20 drivers were affected by the closure, and the drivers were requested to return vehicles to the airport with immediate effect.

Arrow told them in its letter: “We fully understand we haven’t performed as the contract and our presence at the airport was turning embarrassing.” Arrow said that if it had “another 10 drivers or so” it would have been able to continue the business.

A Birmingham Airport spokesperson said: “It is with regret that Arrow Cars has decided to suspend its operation at Birmingham Airport, particularly as passenger volumes are recovering incredibly well. Passengers can continue to use the alternative black cab services available around the clock at the airport, which are located outside the terminal building.”