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Transport & Driving

Flying Your Way into the UAE

When you’re traveling to the UAE, you’ll most likely arrive by plane. You might fly to the world’s busiest airport, or one of the other airports in the UAE — it all depends on where your journey takes you. Our guide has all the information you need about airports, experiences, and how to get there.

The World’s Number One: Dubai International Airport

Dubai International Airport (DHX) is the world’s busiest airport by international passenger traffic, handling around 70.5 million passengers in 2014. Currently, over 8,000 weekly flights are operated by 140 airlines to over 270 cities all across the world. The busiest routes from DHX are to London Heathrow, Doha (Qatar), and Kuwait City.

The biggest domestic airline is Emirates. It is the world’s third-biggest airline by scheduled passengers per kilometers flown and its hub is Dubai International Airport, where — together with Qantas — it exclusively serves Terminal 3. Emirates flies to 164 destinations in 70 countries, with an existing fleet of 219 passenger aircrafts. In 2014, 49.2 million passengers flew with Emirates, counting over 3,000 flights every week.

The airport has four terminals — three passenger terminals and one for cargo — with four concourses. Concourses A, B, and C are part of Terminal 3; Concourse D — the newest addition to the airport — is part of Terminal 1.

Dubai International Airport is a whole experience on its own. Ten lounges, business centers, meeting rooms, prayer rooms, more than 80 food and beverage facilities, a swimming pool, including access to a gym, jacuzzis, saunas, and showers, and even three hotels — it can be a bit overwhelming. As if that isn’t enough, you can pay a visit to one of the Zen gardens, or take a nap in one of the snooze cubes. And of course you can always spend your spare time in the airport exploring the 26,000 m2 of retail space.

Your Way to the Airport — How Will You Get There?

There are several options to get to the airport — or to get to Dubai from the airport.

You can travel to the airport using the Dubai Metro — both the red and green lines have stations at the airport. The red line has stations at Terminals 1 and 3, while the green line stops at the Airport Free Zone, which is close to Terminal 2. The metro operates from 05:50 to midnight from Saturday to Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday the metro operates until 01:00. Keep in mind that there is no metro service on Friday morning — the trains start operating at 13:00.

It is also possible to travel by bus. There are bus stops at all three terminals of the airport. To get from Terminal 1 to 3 — or the other way around — you can use the free shuttle bus that takes you from terminal to terminal. You can also use the metro to travel between the terminals.

The last option you have is to simply travel by taxi. Outside the airport, there are taxi stands with taxis waiting. A trip from the airport has a fixed starting fee of 20 AED.

You can find more specific information about the Dubai Metro, buses, and taxis in our article about public transportation in the UAE.

Other Important Airports in the UAE

Abu Dhabi International Airport

Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) is the UAE’s second-largest airport, with 20 million passengers in 2014. The airport is a base for around 40 airlines flying to 90 cities in over 50 countries. Etihad Airlines — the second-largest airline in the UAE — has its hub at AUH.

There are buses that go to the city center and back to the airport. There’s a bus every 40 minutes, and the buses operate 24 hours a day. A one-way trip costs 4 AED and takes around 45 minutes.

Sharjah International Airport

Sharjah International Airport handled 9.5 million passengers in 2014. The easiest method to travel to or from the airport in Sharjah is to take a taxi. It’s fast and reliable — all taxis have meters that calculate the amount you’ll have to pay for your trip. Another option is to take a long-distance bus, with which you can also travel to other emirates. If you’re traveling within Sharjah, local buses can take you to your destination — a bus leaves every 15 minutes.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

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