Attending Abu Dhabi Airshow & Dubai Boat Show – Part 1: Airports, Parking, & CIQ

PT 3 M minute read

This business aviation blog post is the first of a two-part series on attending the Abu Dhabi Airshow.

The Abu Dhabi Airshow takes place once every two years at Al Bateen (OMAD) Feb 26-28, 2018, positioning the Emirate as a leading global hub of aviation and aerospace. At just about the same time – Feb 27 to Mar 3 – the Dubai Boat Show unveils its offerings, continuing to establish itself as the regions #1 marine luxury, leisure and lifestyle event. If you’re planning to attend one or both of these venues here are some top planning tips.

The following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. Airshow primary airport

OMAD is the Abu Dhabi Airshow venue and preferred general aviation (GA) airport for parking. This is a 24-hour airport of entry (AOE) with fixed base operators (FBOs), full GA support services, fuel and credit. Prior permission required (PPR) is not needed at this location and airport slots are not currently required. However, temporary slots might be put in place closer to the event. Customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) is cleared within the FBO and normally takes under 15 minutes. Additional VIP lounge CIQ clearance options are also available here, with advance notice and additional charges.

2. OMAD closures

As the Abu Dhabi airshow features daily flying displays there will be runway closures to be mindful of from time to time, as notified by NOTAM.

3. Alternate airport

Abu Dhabi Intl (OMAA), the primary commercial airport for the Emirate, is also a 24-hour AOE available to GA. This location has FBOs, full GA support services and credit. However, be mindful that there’s much more congestion at OMAA due to scheduled commercial operations. This location has no PPR or airport slot requirements.

4. Dubai boat show primary airport

Al Maktoum (OMDW) is the recommended airport for GA ops to Dubai. It’s a 24-hour AOE with FBOs, full GA support services, fuel and credit. The advantage of OMDW over Dubai Intl (OMDB) is that the airfield is much less congested, slots are easier to obtain and GA parking is much more available. Parking can be confirmed at OMDW well prior to operation and slots are generally flexible.

5. Dubai airport slots

Airport slots for both OMDW and OMDB should be requested at least three days prior to the estimated time of arrival (ETA)/estimated time of departure (ETD). Slot deviation at both airports is +/- 15 minutes. Note that requested and preferred slot time are much easier to obtain for OMDW.

6. Parking at Dubai

We’ve not encountered any lack of GA parking at OMDW and long term parking is possible. On the other hand OMDB frequently denies parking requests, particularly if short notice is involved. Most GA flights going into OMDB these days are local operators.

7. CIQ and visas

CIQ is cleared in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai within the FBO. It’s a quick and straight-forward procedure. Passengers might require visas for these Emirates, based on nationality, and if so these can often be obtained upon arrival. Active crew listed on the gendec, irrespective of nationality, may enter Abu Dhabi and Dubai without visas. Keep in mind that if you’re arriving on a scheduled commercial flight, and then departing as crew, you’ll need a visa, based on nationality, for either Abu Dhabi or Dubai.


The Abu Dhabi Airshow has been growing in terms of attendance and importance year over year, attracting increasing volumes of trade attendees and GA equipment. We do not anticipate any issues this year in terms of GA parking and crew accommodations locally. Additionally, the boat show in Dubai attracts traffic so it’s best to make arrangements in advance at OMDW.

Stay tuned for Part 2, which covers permits, airways and local area information when traveling to the UAE.


If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to the UAE, contact me at

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