The vast majority of visitors to the United Arab Emirates take advantage of the excellent deals on offer through a number of tour operators. The national airlines Gulf Air and Emirates Airlines offer a comprehensive air service to the UAE’s six international airports at Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai, Sharjah, Ra’s al-Khaimah and Fujairah. Emirates operate international flights to and from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Gulf Air flies to all six airports. See list below or check with your local travel agency for information on competitively priced package tours to the UAE.
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Approximate flight times
From London to Abu Dhabi flight times are 6 hours 35 minutes, to Dubai 7 hours; from Frankfurt to Dubai 6 hours; from Hong King to Dubai 8 hours, from Los Angeles 19 hours 55 minutes, from Toronto 14 hours 10 minutes, from Sydney 16 hours 15 minutes. It takes 4 hours to fly from Nairobi to Dubai.
You do not have to pay departure tax at any of the UAE’s airports.
Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH)
(+9712 5757500, flight enquiries: 02 5757611)
Over 40 passenger carriers operate scheduled flights to Abu Dhabi from approximately 90 destinations world-wide. Major international carriers include Air France, Air India, British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, PIA, Britannia, and China Airlines. Airport facilities are superb and include an award-winning 3200-square-metre duty free shop, a 19-suite airport hotel, a golf course 400 metres from the terminal, a gym, VIP lounges, a tourist information centre, car hire, travel agency, hotel reservation, bank, bureau de change, internet access and a 24-hour business centre. Raffles for Dh.500, 000 cash are commonplace at the airport and there is alcohol for sale on arrival.
On arrival or departure, Golden Class Service (+9712 5757466) provides a dedicated check-in counter, help with immigration and use of the VIP lounge. Prices range from Dh50-Dh70. A limousine trip to or from your hotel will cost extra. Abu Dhabi airport is situated on the mainland, 35km (22 miles) east of the city. It takes fairly about 45 minutes to reach the city centre depending on the traffic conditions. Limousines and Al Ghazal taxis (purple and white luxury saloons) can be pre-booked or picked-up at the airport. Fares are approximately Dh70. Orange and white airport taxis charge approximately Dh40 to the city centre. Many hotels run an airport shuttle service.
For the return journey, Gulf Air passengers can check in at a city terminal opposite the Beach Rotana hotel, up to 12 hours before their departure time. There is a 24-hour courtesy shuttle service every half an hour from the city terminal to the airport. Bus services run from the airport to the bus station on East Rd approximately every 20 minutes. The fare is Dh3. Note that there is no left luggage facility at Abu Dhabi airport.
Al Ain International Airport (03 7855555)
Gulf Air operates scheduled flights to Al Ain from Bahrain, Qatar and Muscat. Egypt Air flies from Cairo, Royal Jordanian from Amman, PIA from Karachi and Lahore. The airport is approximately 20km from the city centre. Airport to the Intercontinental hotel takes about 20 minutes and costs Dh15 in an ordinary taxi or Dh40 by special airport taxi. Bus fare for the 40-minute bus journey to and from the airport to the main bus station is Dh3. Buses run every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day.
Dubai Airport (DXB) (+9714 2245555)
Almost all the world’s leading airlines operate scheduled services to Dubai, including British Airways, Air France, Cathay Pacific, Cyprus Airways, Kenya Airways, Lufthansa, Northwest Airlines and United Airlines, to name but a few. Airport facilities include ATM, bureau de change, bank, post office, medical centre, pharmacy, cafes, restaurants, executive lounges, left-luggage, duty-free shopping, tourist information, car hire, and internet access.
Location of Dubai Airport
Dubai airport is located 5km (3 miles) south-east of the city, about 10 minutes in light traffic, although the airport roads are very busy at peak traffic times. Prepaid airport taxis must be booked in the arrival hall and charge a fixed Dh30 for destinations in the city centre. Airport buses (20 minutes to city centre for Dh1) leave for the city every ten minutes between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. The metered taxi rate is Dh16 plus, 50 fils for 500 metres.
Sharjah International Airport (SHJ) (+9716 5581111)
SIA’s website provides detailed, real-time information on airlines and flight schedules. Scheduled airlines include Gulf Air, Aeroflot, Cathay Pacific, Egypt Air, Pakistan International Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways International. Destinations serviced include London, Singapore, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Mumbai, Copenhagen, Delhi, Hong Kong, Muscat and Madras. Airport facilities include a 24-hour duty-free shop, car hire, bar, restaurant snack bar and bank.
A meet, assist and transfer service (Hala) is operated by SATA. Special airport taxis are the only ones permitted to pick up passengers at the airport. Fares to the centre of Sharjah, a journey of 10km (6 miles) are approximately Dh40. It will cost you Dh60 to get to Deira in Dubai and Dh70 to Bur Dubai. Take a look at the website which provides detailed, real-time information on flight schedules. Airport facilities include 24-hour duty-free shop, car hire, bar, restaurant snack bar and bank. A ‘meet, assist and transfer service’ (Hala) is operated by Sharjah (SATA). Special airport taxis are the only ones permitted to pick up passengers at the airport. Fares to the centre of Sharjah, a journey of 10 km (6 miles) are approximately Dh40. It will cost you Dh60 to get to Deira in Dubai and Dh70 to Bur Dubai.
Ra’s al-Khaimah International Airport (RKT) (07 2448111)
This is a small but modern and efficient airport whose facilities include a duty-free shop, restaurant and snack bar. The main carriers operating through the airport are Gulf Air, Egypt Air, Indian Airlines, Qeshm Air, Centrafrican Airlines, Kuban Air, plus a large number of CIS carriers. Destinations served by direct flights are Muscat, Bahrain, Doha, Cairo, Al Ain, Qeshm, Meshad, Uzbekestan, Krasnodar, Calicut, and a large number of CIS destinations. Destinations served via a connecting point include Colombo, Delhi, Mumbai, Karachi, Tehran, Trivandrum, Chennai, Tiruchirapalli, Manila and others. The airport is approximately 22.5km from Ra’s al-Khaimah city.