Dubai International Airport
Dubai International Airport is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious airports in the Middle East and one of the fastest growing airports in the world. Situated three miles south east of Dubai city centre, the airport currently serves over 100 airlines and millions of passengers pass through its terminals every year. It is estimated that by 2010 the airport will need to be able to accommodate in excess of 50 million passengers on an annual basis.
The airport is currently undergoing an extensive expansion program which seeks to improve airport facilities even more and take air travel to an entirely new level. The expansion began in 2002 and is due to be completed early in 2006. It is estimated that envisaged changes will cost in the region 2 billion pounds ($4 billion). Proposed alterations and additions include the creation of a new terminal and two concourses purely for the use of Emirates Airline planes and passengers. In addition, elaborate plans are underway for the construction of a temperature controlled Flower Centre where flower products will be automatically sorted and stored before being exported to destinations around the globe.
DIA has two main terminals, with preparations for a third in the near future. All major airlines arrive and leave from the main Sheikh Rashid Terminal, or Terminal 1 which is made up of 5 separate levels containing over 25 boarding gates and 36 passenger lounges. Other facilities in this Terminal include a health club, ATM's and banking services, a post office, a medical centre, a bar, extensive dining and entertainment facilities, a hotel and Duty Free Shopping. Bureaux de change offices are located close to gates 22, 18 and 8, while disabled facilities and lounges can be found in the Arrivals Hall as well as near gates 9 and 22. A sophisticated passenger clearance system has been installed into Terminal 1 that allows passengers to pass through customs utilizing a specialized swipe card machine which electronically administrates their details.
By contrast, Terminal 2 is far smaller than Terminal 1, and caters to charter, business scheduled and cargo flights as well as regional flights from Iran and the surrounding CIS countries. There is also a VIP terminal at the airport known as the Al Majlis terminal which is reserved strictly for use by VIP's and private jet owners.
Traveling to and from the airport is a relatively simple exercise, with both public transport and hired vehicles being readily available. Passengers who have booked into one of the up market hotels in the area will more than likely be picked up by a complimentary shuttle or limousine, while those looking to transfer between terminals in order to catch a local flight will be able to do so using the airport shuttle service. For those looking to ride in style, a limousine to the city centre can be arranged in the arrivals hall from Siji Limousines and Dubai VIP - but be warned, the 10 minute trip is likely to cost you an arm and a leg at the least!
Public transport is available in the form of taxis and buses both to and from the airport. Taxis will charge more for pick ups than they will for drop offs due to the fact that pick ups require driving to the airport terminals. A journey to the airport will cost in the region of 2 pounds ($4) while a journey from the airport will cost around 4 pounds ($8). In the event that you are on a tight budget, buses are a viable albeit unreliable alternative. Bus links run to and from both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 every 25 minutes or so. The number 4, 11 and 15 buses operate between Diera and the airport, while the 33 and 44 buses travel between the airport and Bur Dubai. The number 2, 401 and 402 buses also run between the airport and the city.
Car Hire at the Airport
In the event that you are looking to hire a car and drive around the city yourself, around 15 car hire companies can be found in the arrivals hall of Terminal 1. These include the likes of Budget, Hertz and FAST. Driving around in the heat of the city can become unbearable, so it is advisable to make sure that the car you hire has a working air conditioner. Finding your way into the city from the airport is a relatively simple exercise due to the fact that the Airport Road runs directly into the city centre from the airport. It is advisable to find out a couple of landmarks that are near to your hotel due to the fact that once in town the majority of streets are not named.
Dubai Airport Hotels
Many of those flying into DIA elect to stay at the Dubai International Hotel so as to avoid travel hassles upon arrival. The hotel is located on the third floor of the Shaikh Rashid Terminal and offers 5 star facilities. Rooms are available on a nightly or hourly basis and starting costs are in the region of $30 per hour. Other popular hotels which are easily accessible from the airport include InterContinental Dubai, Golden Tulip Aeroplane, Taj Palace Dubai, Le Meridien Hotel, Al Bustan Hotel and the Millennium Airport Hotel. The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce has a help desk in the arrivals hall of Terminal 1 where information on the various hotels and sites within Dubai can be found. Hotel bookings can be made from the travel desk which is also situated in the arrivals hall.
Useful Contact Details :
Dubai International Airport
Tel +971 (4) 224 5555
Flight Information for DIA
Tel +971 (4) 216 6666
Tel +971 (4) 214 4444
Dubai Public Transport
Tel +971 (4) 227 3840
Dubai International Airport Hotel
Tel +971 (4) 216 4300 or 4289
Budget Rent a Car Dubai
Tel +971 (4) 224 5192