Just thought that I would post this info, to help anyone who is having to return to the Uk, to help them save time and money on flying their pets back to the UK.
I lived out in Cyprus for just over two years and had to return to the Uk in May. I recently (May 2009) flew my three dogs back.
Two of which already had their UK PETS Passports, as I bought them out with me, whilst one was a Cyprus rescue case.
After much searching around, I used Cyprus Airways Cargo. They charge me between 350 and 420 Euros for each dog (Jack Russell's) including the weight of their crate. This also includes the fee charge by Airport handling in the UK, so that is the whole price. It is very simple to organise yourself, no need to pay a special company, just call Cyprus Airways Cargo and tell them you have a pet to fly back to the UK, date of flight approx and weight of dog and crate combined and they will ask for the crate dimensions in cm.
They will then inform you exactly what they need you to do and where to go, days before the animal flys, so that on the day of the flight, it is just a case of dropping your dog off three hours before the flight. This visit also includes filling out paperwork and labelling the crate beforehand to save time.
The crate must be the correct size for the dog/cat, they must be able to stand up, turn around and lay down comfortably. Get a knowledgeable vet to check or contact BARC at the British Forces bases if your not sure.
To return to the UK, your dog or cat must have a valid PETS Passport, to stop them from having to go into quarantine, and everything must be bang up to date, or they will put your animal in quarantine, no messing. If for any reason they have to remove the pet from the crate once in the Uk, (ie: if distressed or badly soiled or just not picked up after two hours) they will charge you a standard 135 GBP to put it in a kennel.
My own dogs had existing passports and just needed booster rabies jabs ( no waiting) the vet check and the flea and tick treatment no less than 24 and no more than 48hrs before flight. I believe that the passport has to be signed by the government vet in Nicosia now, so allow time for this and check with a knowledgeable vet.
As my rescue dog needed a PETS passport she had her Rabies jab, and then we had to wait a few weeks for the result (to check antibody levels). The she had to wait 6 months from the date of her rabies jab, before UK will let her into the country.
I was very lucky to have a great friend that was happy to foster my little dog for the six months. I booked the flight via Cyprus Airways Cargo in Limassol. They fly from Pathos and Larnaca, to Heathrow and Gatwick which both have Animal Reception Centres, where you pick you pet up roughly two hours after they land. If everything is in order, they are sat in your car with you two hours after the flight, fit and ready to go to your home.
Don't be tempted to use British Airways just because they are Brits, they seriously over charge as they use contractors to handle and load your pets they are not BA Cargo. BA world Cargo wanted to charge 720 euros for the same dog that cost 420 with Cyprus Airways. BA Cargo only operates when the dog gets to the UK. Thompson to is expensive, as are a few other Brit Airlines, don't be fooled, they are no better and will charge you more.
If you would like to call the Animal Reception Centre at Heathrow Airport I will list the number below. I have used both Heathrow and Gatwick and both are really good. My dogs all travelled really well and even the rescue dog who is very nervous, was absolutely fine. Cyprus Airways was great and although maybe a little laid back, they new exactly what they were doing, and so I recommended them to you, to hopefully save you time and worry, on top of everything else.
Cyprus Airways Cargo (00357) 22 590800
Heathrow Animal Reception Centre, Terminal 4 area, on the South perimeter road, large blue 'Q' on the building, you cant miss it. There number is (0044) (0)208 7457894 drop the zero in front of the 2 when phoning from Cyprus.
If you need the Animal Reception Centre at Gatwick they will give you the number.
I really do hope this helps some of you out there as it is stressful enough leaving the country let alone organising pets travel.
Any questions please ask.
SuziG (back in the chilly, but pretty Autumn colours everywhere! UK)