Business Aviation Trip Planning: Dubai, UAE
For business aircraft operators, Dubai (OMDB) is always a popular corporate destination, but one that can be very congested at times. The good news is that there are new alternate airfields you can use, close-by, with full services available. When planning a trip to Dubai, work with your 3rd-party provider to determine the best airport option. Here’s an overview of what you should know:
1. Dubai airport choices
In the Dubai vicinity, there are three major airports to choose from: the new Jebel Ali Al Maktoum International (OMDW), Dubai Intl (OMDB) and Sharjah (OMSJ). All are Airports of Entry (AOEs). With the increased traffic that OMDB has been experiencing over the last few years, both OMDW and OMSJ offer alternate options for travel to this area.
2. Jebel Ali Al Maktoum International Airport is a great option and close-by
OMDW is also known as "Dubai World Central." A 24-hour AOE, OMDW is an approximately 25-minute drive to the famous Jumeirah hotel area (including the Palm area) and about 30 minutes from the financial district. Arrival and departure airport slots are required, but there are usually no issues with availability. This location does not experience delays with landing and holding times, whereas delays at OMDB may be up to 45 minutes. Average taxi time at OMDW, from landing to on-blocks, is approximately four minutes. There are no aircraft parking restrictions for this airport, maintenance services are available, and aviation fuel uplifts are accomplished much faster than at OMDB due to lower traffic volumes. Ground handling services are available, with a full range of ground support equipment. Credit arrangements can be established with prior notification. This is also a good tech stop for aircraft transiting the area.
3. Sharjah is another good option for Dubai
OMSJ is also a 24-hour AOE and is an approximately 30-minute drive to the Dubai financial district and 35 minutes to the Jumeirah hotel district and Palm. Airport slots are not required, and ample aircraft parking is available. Average taxi time from landing to on-blocks is approximately six minutes. This location offers customs and immigration preclearance, along with hangar and maintenance facilities. Ground handling is available, and credit can be set up with advance notice. For airside passenger vehicle ramp access, advance notification is necessary. Your ground handler will need to know vehicle registration, make, model, color and driver’s name for ramp access. OMSJ is also a popular tech stop option, with an average turnaround time of 30 minutes.
4. Dubai International can be very busy
OMDB is a 24-hour AOE with peak hours of scheduled commercial activity 0800-2200 local. Aircraft parking is restricted, and wide-bodied aircraft may be limited to a drop-and-go. Ground handling is available, and credit can be arranged with advance notice. Airport slots are required for all arrivals and departures. Slots should be requested as soon as a schedule is known due to high traffic volume at this location. Slot requests must be submitted to the airport slot coordinator in slot clearance request (SCR) format. Be mindful that it may be difficult to obtain slots during peak hours. Once approved, airport slots are valid for +/- 15 minutes.
5. Additional Reading
See additional articles on operating a business aircraft into the UAE.
Best practice is to request slots and confirm service requirements as soon as the schedule is known. The Dubai area now offers several good airport options for both destination and tech stops – with a full range of first-rate service and overnight stay possibilities.
If you have any questions about this article or operating into Dubai, contact me at email@example.com.