Airports in United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi

Situated 20 miles (32km) from Abu Dhabi’s city center, Abu Dhabi International Airport is the second biggest in the United Arab Emirates, after Dubai International.

It was also the first airport in the Middle East to receive regulatory approval for enhanced low-visibility operators. This classification is expected to minimize delays as a result of fog and sand storms, and has only been given to a select number of airports across the world.

There are currently three terminals at Abu Dhabi International Airport. Terminals 1 and 2 handle most of the traffic, and Terminal 3 is the more luxurious Etihad Terminal. Thanks to a direct highway that feeds into the city, transfers into Abu Dhabi are generally quick and painless, even in the heat and traffic congestion of a busy summer’s day.

Abu Dhabi International Airport is an often chaotic introduction to the modern metropolis of Abu Dhabi and its many attractions, although with the development of Terminal 3, Etihad passengers (at least) are assured a most comfortable experience.

View Abu Dhabi (AUH) Airport Guide

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Al Ain

Al Ain International Airport is the smaller of two airports located in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, roughly eight miles (18km) northwest of the resort city of Al Ain. The Al Ain Airport (also known as Matar al-Ayn ad-Dowaly Airport in Arabic) has only one terminal, one runway and an airline taxiway. At present seven airlines operate from this small airport. 

With only a few regional carriers using this modest airport (most others choose the large and glitzy Abu Dhabi International Airport instead), passengers have a limited choice of destinations. Most flights to Al Ain Airport come from regional or neighboring countries such as India, Qatar, Pakistan and Jordan.

There is a large expansion program set for this airport, which promises to include the Al Ain Aerospace Cluster – a center for economic development, technology and innovation.

View Al Ain (AAN) Airport Guide

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One of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is a wealthy player in this oil-producing region. The city is one of most visited in the world; in fact, Dubai relies on tourism, and has marketed itself as the “shopping capital” of the Middle East. Indeed Dubai International Airport's duty-free areas are a major tourist attraction in their own right. The airport is a major aviation hub in the area, and one of the biggest airports in the world by passenger volume.

Transfers at Dubai International can be stressful. It's a huge, linear building – so be prepared to do some walking if you're catching a connecting flight. Terminals 1 and 3 are used solely for international tourists and make up 90% of the airport's total passenger traffic. Terminal 3 is used only by Emirates Airlines and is connected to Terminal 1 via a transit area, so you don't need to go through immigration to get from one to the other. However, you do have to make your way through the duty-free area – which is often very crowded. Terminal 2 is used by regional and low-cost airlines. It's on the opposite end of the airport, so you'll have to get to and from it via airport shuttle, an almost 30-minute journey.

View Dubai (DXB) Airport Guide

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