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Zayed International Airport (AUH IATA) (formerly known as Abu Dhabi International Airport) is the primary airport serving the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and home base of Etihad Airways. The airport is situated 19 miles (30.6 km) east of Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the UAE in the Al Matar district.

Understand[edit]

Map
Map of Zayed International Airport

Serving almost 16 million passengers in 2022, Zayed International Airport is the second busiest in the UAE. Like its busier neighbour, Dubai International Airport, and regional competitor Hamad International Airport in Qatar, it is an important traffic node between Europe, Asia and Africa. It is the home base of Etihad Airways, one of the Gulf carriers – i.e., airlines in the region whose business models largely consist of flying mid- and long-haul routes using wide-body aircraft with a considerable number of passengers transiting rather than having the region as their departure point or final destination. The airport is renamed after Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE.

Visa[edit]

See United Arab Emirates#Get in for visa requirements. Most travellers can visit for at least 30 days with a visa-on-arrival as long as your passport is valid for 6 months from the date of arrival, however there are exceptions and you should always check the latest information.

Nationalities not approved for visa-on-arrival are required to apply for a visa in advance. You will require sponsorship by an Emirati airline, hotel or tour operator to be able to apply for a visa. All UAE airlines offer visa services when you fly with them. Travel agents and hotels can also arrange a tourist visa for you.

Transit visas, if required, are sponsored by the airlines. They are free if you are staying less than 48 hours or at a cost of 150 dirhams for up to 96 hours

Flights[edit]

Terminal A layout with gate numbers

As of 15th November 2023, 117 global destinations are served and there is a single terminal in operation, Terminal A. Formerly known as the 1 Midfield Terminal, Terminal A became operational in three phases over the course of the first two weeks of November 2023, with the older terminals (1, 2 and 3) being closed thereafter.

All airlines now operate from Terminal A, and you should be wary of any website or signage that still refers to Terminals 1, 2 or 3.

Terminal A is one of the world's largest airport terminals with a floor area of 742,000 m², and increases the airport's capacity to more than 45 million passengers a year. It is not dissimilar to Istanbul's new airport in terms of its layout. Multiple piers (A,B, C and D) radiate out from a central core where the check-in counters, security checkpoints, shops and baggage claim are situated. Each pier is uniquely themed (desert, sea, city or oasis) according to the direction it faces. If your gate is shown as E2–E5 or F, note that these are bussing gates situated near gates B10 on Floor 2.

City check-in[edit]

Remote check-in desks at the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal in Al-Mina or Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (daily 9AM-8PM) are available for those flying with Etihad Airways, Air Arabia, Egyptair and WizzAir. As of November 2023, city check-in costs 35 dirhams for adults, 25 dirhams for children aged 12 years old and below and 15 dirhams for infants aged two years old and below. City check-in is available between 24 and 4 hours before your flight.

A city check-in facility was previously also operated in downtown Abu Dhabi. This facility, known as the City Terminal, resembled an airport terminal building with lounge and transport facilities. After having checked in at the City Terminal, travellers could arrive at the airport just one hour before the departure of their flight. This facility closed in October 2019.

Other city check-in facilities operated by Etihad Airways in Dubai (at the Etihad Travel Mall, near Noor Bank metro station and at the Mazaya Center) have also closed.

US border pre-clearance[edit]

Zayed International Airport features a United States border pre-clearance facility, meaning that passengers flying to select U.S. destinations will go through the U.S. customs and immigration control before getting on the plane, and will be treated as domestic passengers upon arrival in the U.S. It is one of just three such airports outside North America (the other two being Dublin and Shannon airports in Ireland).

Travellers whose flights to the U.S. qualify should head to Gate F (near Gate B10) at least 75 minutes before the flight, from where a shuttle bus service will transfer you to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility. For premium class passengers there is a Lounge located post-clearance.

As of 15 November 2023, the only flights eligible for U.S. customs and immigration pre-clearance are:

  • Flight EY101 to New York
  • Flight EY131 to Washington

Airlines[edit]

As of 15 November 2023, all 28 airlines operate from Terminal A, including:

Etihad Airways, by far the largest operator at the airport, flying to airports in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. The airport and airline was among the few with flights to all six inhabited continents, until services to São Paulo ceased in 2017.

WizzAir, which has considerably disrupted the regional flight market with intercontinental flights from €30. They have flights to Europe, Africa and Asia. If you are somewhat flexible in your travel, you can get an short- or medium-haul flight for a very low fare. The flights (as of August 2021) depart from Italy, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Egypt, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Oman, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Israel, Armenia, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Cyprus.

Air Arabia, An Emirati low-cost carrier serving 32 short- and medium-haul destinations from Zayed International Airport as of 2023; some code-sharing with Etihad Airways.

Ground transportation[edit]

By taxi[edit]

Al Ghazal taxis travel to the city at a flat rate of 75 dirham and take around 30–40 minutes.

Metered taxis are now allowed to pick up passengers at the airport. A trip into Abu Dhabi city center will cost 60–70 dirham. Metered taxis can also bring passengers to the airport. Expect long lines at the taxi stand during the evening and late night hours. The majority of taxis accept credit cards, you will be able to tell if the taxi takes card or not by looking at the meter – if the screen is blue, you can, but if the screen is orange, (an older style meter), you can’t.

Rates given by the airport as of November 2023 are:

Meter Starting Fare (Flag Fall) 25.00 dirham
Every 1 km up to 50 km (6AM-10PM) 1.6 dirham
Every 1 km up to 50 km (10PM–6AM) 1.69 dirham
Every 1 km over 50 km 0.09 dirham
Every 1 minute of waiting time (first 5 minutes free) 0.5 dirham

By bus[edit]

Within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi[edit]

As of November 2023, there are 7 bus routes from the airport to various locations in Abu Dhabi. No tickets are sold on buses, you need to purchase a Hafilat Smart Card (the card itself costs 10 dirham) from a ticket vending machine or public transport counter in the arrivals hall. Remember to punch in and punch out of each bus ride, so that the correct distance is charged—also see Abu Dhabi#By bus 2. As with most public buses in the UAE, the front rows of seats (2 rows of 4 facing sideways) are priority seating for ladies. Males occupying those seats are required to give up their seats in the event of a lady standing.

  • A1: Abu Dhabi Airport Terminal A to Ghurair Al Ojaan Mosque in Al Zahiyah (bus stop ID: 1010B). Operating hours: 6AM-11PM (see N2 below for night services). Frequency: every 40 min. Cost: 4 dirham (2 dirham base fare + 0.05 dirham per km)
  • A2: Abu Dhabi Airport Terminal A to the intersection of Khalifa bin Zayed Street and Sheik Zayed Bin Sultan Street in Al Danah (bus stop ID: 313B). Operating hours: 6AM-11PM. Frequency: every 40 min. Cost: 4 dirham (2 dirham base fare + 0.05 dirham per km)
  • A10: Abu Dhabi Airport Terminal A to MBZ City Bus Station. (bus stop ID: 10038C) Operating hours: 6AM-11PM. Frequency: every 60 min.
  • A15: Abu Dhabi Airport Terminal A to Cargo Terminal. (bus stop ID: 17204B) Operating hours: 24/7. Frequency: every 15 min.
  • A40: Al Shahama Bus Station to Baniyas West Bus Station via Abu Dhabi Airport Terminal A. Operating hours: 6AM-11PM. Frequency: every 60 min.
  • K4: Abu Dhabi Airport Terminal A to Khalifa City (bus stop ID: 16586B). Operating hours: 6AM-11PM. Frequency: every 30 min.
  • N2: Nightbus equivalent of A2. Operating hours: midnight-6AM. Frequency: every 20 min. Cost: 4 dirham (2 dirham base fare + 0.05 dirham per km)

Discontinued services include:

  • A18: Abu Dhabi Airport to Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque and Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

Other Emirates[edit]

  • Dubai and Dubai Airport – There is an airport express bus (90 minutes) that connects to Ibn Battatu (Mall) in southern Dubai, from where you can catch the metro (red line) into central Dubai and as far as Dubai airport (DXB). The express bus is 35 dirham (or US$8.20 online) and the ticket can be bought with cash or card inside the terminal—for the return journey (from Ibn Battatu) the driver will only accept cash. The express bus runs 24/7 every hour from both termini. For connections in Dubai see Dubai#Get around.
Unfortunately, departing from Abu Dhabi Airport, you cannot use the E102 bus of Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, because you will require a nol card to do so—these however are only available in Dubai unless you have one from a previous visit with the appropriate credit loaded. But if you want to go from Dubai to Abu Dhabi Airport, you get the nol card first and then take E102 from Ibn Battatu (Mall) or Al Jafiliya Bus Station.
  • Sharjah and Sharjah Airport – There are two options.
    • 1) Once again take the airport express bus to Ibn Battatu (Mall) in southern Dubai—35 dirham with cash or card inside the terminal, $8.20 USD online. From there, on platform 4 (Ibn Battatu) a bus connects to Sharjah downtown and Al Jubail Bus Station—15 dirham, cash only. And from Al Jubail Bus Station there is a bus to Sharjah airport—10 dirham, cash only. For the return journey, Sharjah Airport to Abu Dhabi Airport, it is cash only, (60 dirham).
    • 2) Go to Abu Dhabi Bus Station first using a public bus and the Hafilat Smart Card—see above (even though the 10-dirham surcharge for the Smart Card does not justify this route, but there might be a single journey option available, check the machines). And from there, there is a direct bus to Al Jubail Bus Station in Sharjah (price 40–50 dirham, probably cash only), from where you can take the Sharjah airport bus again.

Check the following transportation websites for the relevant schedules:

Also, Google Maps is good in suggesting connections.

By airline shuttle[edit]

If you are flying on Etihad, Emirates and some partner airlines, complimentary shuttle buses are provided at infrequent intervals to Dubai (Al-Wasl centre, 75-minute journey) and Al Ain (Club Tower, 90-minute journey). You should book these at least 24 hours in advance through this site.

By limousine service[edit]

Etihad first and business class passengers can take advantage of a complimentary chauffeur service using this link to and from anywhere in the UAE.

By rental car[edit]

If you plan to rent a car for the duration of your stay, the airport has a glut of car rental companies on site including both well known International chains and local enterprises. Many are open 24 hours a day and their offices are clustered on the Mezzanine level (Floor 1) in Terminal A.

The airport is located on the E10 highway.

By ride hailing[edit]

Uber and local equivalent Careem are available at Abu Dhabi Airport.

Get around[edit]

Some promotional airport literature claims 12–19 minutes as the average walking time from kerb to gate. This seems somewhat unrealistic as Terminal A is one of the single largest airport terminals in the world. Allow sufficient time to reach your gate! Apart from moving walkways there are no airside shuttles or trains.

The minimum connection time for the new Terminal A is given as 45 minutes as all flights now leave from under one roof. This probably does not apply to flight connections to the U.S. that require customs and immigration pre-clearance and so will take longer.

Wait[edit]

The main hall of old Terminal 1

Lounges[edit]

Sana Al-Nour[edit]

Standing at 22 metres tall and 17 metres wide, this 100-ton sculpture is comprised of 1632 curved glass panels and is the centrepiece of Terminal A. It is somewhat reminiscent in shape of the main hall of the old Terminal 1.

Eat and drink[edit]

A wide variety of food outlets are available both airside and landside, with both local and International cuisine being well catered for. A current list of outlets can be found on the official airport website.

Buy[edit]

As with most modern international airports, there are shops galore in addition to the obligatory duty free stores. In certain concourses you might be forgiven for thinking you were in a shopping mall. Terminal A features the world's first Muji airport store. A current list of retailers can be found on the official airport website.

Connect[edit]

Wi-Fi: The airport offers free wireless internet throughout all public areas.

Cope[edit]

Alcohol[edit]

If you are terminating your journey in Abu Dhabi, non-Muslim adults can bring in four items of alcohol, e.g. four bottles of wine, or four bottles of spirits, or four cases of beer (regardless of alcohol content).

Baby strollers[edit]

Complimentary strollers are available.

Lost and found[edit]

An online form is available for those who have left the airport. Within the terminal:

  • Landside: Level 0 – Arrivals Concourse. Next to Left Luggage / Baggage Storage, near to Etisalat. Phone: +971-2-5572752
  • Airside: Level 3 – Departures. Next to Le Club Duty Free are public toilets. Enter via the entrance on the left side just before the toilet. The Lost & Found office is located 20 meters away.

Medications[edit]

Be aware that the UAE takes a very strict line on medicines, with many common drugs, notably anything with containing codeine, diazepam (Valium) or dextromethorphan (Robitussin) being banned unless you have a notarized and authenticated doctor's prescription.

Porter service[edit]

As of November 2023, the fixed rate for a porter is 30 dirhams (approx. $8.16 USD).

Showers[edit]

Available for a fee in the Pearl Lounge on Level 4.

Smoking rooms[edit]

There is an enclosed smoking room in each of the four piers.

Sleep[edit]

Nearby[edit]

  • 1 Al Ghazal Golf Club (in the airport district (landside) about 1 km from the old terminals). 18-hole golf course, open to members and non-members. You can rent equipment and they also offer golf instruction. There are also tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, a cricket pitch and conference room.
  • Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital. Open Sun–Mon. Not far from the old terminals. Pre-booking required for tours.
  • Yas Island with it's theme parks and the green Masdar City are the closest attractions, (a 20-minute taxi ride).
  • Central Abu Dhabi is about 30 km away, a 40-minute taxi trip.
  • Dubai is also easily reached if you have the time. See the Ground Transportation section for details.


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