Unless you’re travelling overland from neighbouring Oman or sailing in on a cruise ship, you’ll arrive at Dubai’s sparkling modern international airport close to the old city centre – at least pending the full opening of the new Al Maktoum International Airport. Once you’ve cleared customs and the crowds, getting into town is fairly straightforward.
The airport (wdubaiairport.com; airport code DXB) is very centrally located in the district of Garhoud, around 7km from the city centre. There are three passenger terminals: Terminal 1 is where most international flights arrive; Terminal 3 is where all Emirates airlines flights land; and Terminal 2 is used by smaller regional carriers. All three terminals have plenty of ATMs and currency exchange booths, although if you want to rent a car, you’ll have to head to Terminal 1.
There are several ways of getting into town from the airport and many hotels offer free airport transfers; check when you book. Both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 have dedicated metro stations, offering quick and inexpensive transport into the city centre and beyond to southern Dubai. Alternatively, there are plentiful taxis, although note that they charge a 20dh flag fare when picking up from the airport rather than the usual 3dh, making them significantly pricier than usual. There are also various buses (see wdubai-bus.com) running from the airport into the city centre, although these are only really useful if you’re staying in Deira or Bur Dubai and know where you’re going; as for the metro, you’ll also have to buy a Nol card or ticket before boarding the bus. The two most useful services (every 30min, 24hr; 3dh) are airport bus #401, which travels via Baniyas Road to Al Sabkha Bus Station in central Deira, and airport bus #402, which runs via Al Mankhool Road and the Golden Sands area to Al Ghubaiba Bus Station in the middle of Bur Dubai.Read More
Al Maktoum Airport
Al Maktoum Airport
Already one of the world’s major air hubs, Dubai is now taking even more of a stranglehold on the aviation industry with the construction of the vast new Al Maktoum International Airport (AMIA; airport code DWC) in the far south of the city, slated to eventually become the world’s largest airport, with five runways, three passenger terminals and capacity for up to 160 million passenger per year. The airport began receiving cargo flights in 2010 and its first passenger flights in 2013.
The new airport is located around 15km inland from Jebel Ali port, roughly 22km by road from the marina, 30km from the Palm Jumeirah and around 50km from the old city centre. It’s designed to supplement the existing Dubai International Airport rather than replace it, meaning that services to the older airport should continue more or less as before, although details of how it will all work are, at present, necessarily thin on the ground. From a practical point of view, however, unless you’re staying in or near Dubai Marina, the old Dubai International Airport is likely to prove a far more convenient place to land than its new rival.