By Peter Stevenson
AN as yet unnamed Russian businessman is due to get a very special surprise present when he celebrates his birthday today: an Aston Martin Cygnet that has been flown in from Britain.
With years of experience in transporting mostly antique cars from their offices in the UK, Belgium and Switzerland, cypruscars.eu were tasked with bringing over the Aston Martin Cygnet from Glasgow as a surprise birthday present for a wealthy Russian businessman who is celebrating his birthday today.
The first obstacle for Michael Howard-Johnston, the head of cypruscars.eu in Cyprus was how to find this limited mini luxury vehicle.
“A client approached us and specifically asked for that car and that it needed to be ready to go on August 1, as it was to be a surprise birthday present,” he said yesterday. “We had to look abroad to find it as it is not available for purchase in Cyprus.”
Howard-Johnston added that initially it had been a joke to fly the car over but as time constraints became an issue, he decided to contact British Airways (BA) to fly the car over from Heathrow.
“Bringing it over with BA was going to cost around €6,000 but unfortunately we kept being bumped off due to a lack of cargo space on their flights,” he said.
When it was clear that the airline was not going to be able to get the car to Cyprus before the deadline, Howard-Johnston made several phone calls and arranged with Emirates to transport the vehicle from Glasgow airport.
“Within 48-hours of taking off from Glasgow the car arrived at Larnaca Airport on Wednesday last week,” he said.
The flight went via Dubai before arriving in Cyprus and even arrived before the car’s paperwork which had been sent separately by a world famous delivery company.
“It ended up costing us around €7,000 to get the car flown over when shipping it would have cost around €1,000 which isn’t a huge difference when you’re dealing with expensive cars and considering we had a deadline to reach,” he explained.
Shipping a car over takes between two weeks and a month to arrive, but once it arrives at Limassol port a number of fees need to be paid to customs to release the car.
“Getting a car flown over is not an easy task as it needs to go through rigorous checks at the airport before it can be put on a plane, so we have done it solely to meet the deadline although it’s good to know that it’s possible,” he said.
“I guess you could say the story is noteworthy because of the obscure locations the car was sent to and arrived in, with neither Larnaca nor Glasgow Airports being particularly global hubs,” he added.
It was also a first for Emirates airline.
“The iconic vehicle was transported last week on an Emirates SkyCargo plate, the first car to have been transported in the hold of one of Emirates’ twice-daily 777s out of Glasgow,” a statement from Emirates said.
“How else is an Aston Martin going to fly but Emirates? The Cygnet certainly stood out at our Glasgow SkyCargo warehouse, especially as it’s the first time a car has flown on our Glasgow flight,” said Phil Rawlings, cargo manager, UK, Emirates SkyCargo.
“I am sure the car enjoyed the usual Emirates service!”
The vehicle weighs 988kg, according to the Aston Martin website and it is identical to the €15,000 Toyota iQ, but has a deluxe interior and a price tag of around €35,000.