Attending the Abu Dhabi Airshow & Dubai Boat Show – Part 2: Permits, Airways, Culture & Local Area

PT 3 M minute read

This business aviation blog post continues from our article last week, entitled “Attending Abu Dhabi Airshow & Dubai Boat Show – Part 1: Airports, Parking, & CIQ.”

While landing permits for the Emirates can be obtained easily and quickly overflight permits to and from the region can be an important planning consideration. There are safety of flight issues to consider in terms of routing as well as individual flight department SOP that may impact route selection.

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

1. Landing permits

Landing permits are required for all operations to Abu Dhabi and Dubai and can be obtained in two – three business days. Short notice permit requests are often approved within 24 hours, at the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA’s) discretion. Permit requirements involve just standard documentation, with no sponsor letter or statement of business purpose required. Landing permits are valid for the Zulu day and permit confirmation numbers should be placed in Remarks section 18 of your flight plan.

2. eAPIS mandates

eAPIS filings are now mandatory for all arrivals/departures into all five Emirates. At the present time it’s still possible to file eAPIS via your ground handler rather than directly from the operator.

3. Airspace restrictions

There’s considerable sanctioned and “safety of flight” airspace to be mindful of when routing to/from the Emirates. Syria has U.S.-sanctioned airspace to be aware of while Iraq and Afghanistan have areas of prohibited airspace to consider. In Yemen there is a certain southern airspace that needs to be avoided but many operators prefer avoiding overflying Yemen altogether. Meanwhile, the Sinai region and Israel have safety of flight issues below flight level (FL) 260. Somalia currently has no published airspace restrictions but maintaining at least FL 260 is always best practice. While Iran airspace is neither prohibited nor sanctioned certain operators avoid such overflights, based on their individual standard operating procedures (SOPs).

4. Qatar ops related issues

As a result of recent political skirmishes it became difficult, for a time, to fly directly between Qatar and either Saudi Arabia or the Emirates. This has been resolved somewhat and operators are often able to obtain permits for flight ops between Qatar and UAE. However, these permits typically take longer to obtain and are influenced by registry of aircraft, who’s onboard and purpose of flight.

5. Iran overflights

Overflight permits for Iran are not an issue and can be obtained in a matter of hours. Permit approvals are generally very quick so long as you’ve forwarded all required information and documentation.

6. Crew accommodations

Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai have wide selections of 4-, 5- and 6-star accommodation options including major international brands. Normal rates for 4-star crew rooms run 200-300 USD/night in Abu Dhabi and 250-400 USD/night in Dubai. Due to higher demand relating to the Airshow and boat show we anticipate higher than normal nightly rates as well as some hotels selling out. Drive time from Al Bateen (OMAD) and city center hotels is about 15 minutes while drive time between OMAD and Al Maktoum (OMDW) to the primary local hotel areas is 30 minutes plus.

7. Local transport & catering

For transport within Abu Dhabi or Dubai, and between the Emirates, we recommend arranging prepaid (car with driver) transport. At least 48 hours’ notice should be provided if you’re looking for specific vehicle types. For road travel between Abu Dhabi and Dubai plan on about 1.5 hours. From the catering perspective, in-flight caterers serve all Abu Dhabi and Dubai airports, offering extensive menus and high quality offerings. For catering requests, 48 hours’ notice is recommended.

8. Cultural considerations

While it’s advisable and recommended for males and females to dress conservatively in the Emirates the environment is not nearly as strict as in Saudi Arabia. Female crew are not expected to cover their heads, to travel with a male escort or refrain from driving cars. Onboard alcohol is not subject to the strict quarantine and sealing requirements common in the Kingdom. Be aware that some services may slow down somewhat during holiday periods – such as the month long Ramadan celebration. Local weekends are Thursday-Friday. Note that permit processing and/or revisions may take somewhat longer during holidays and weekends.


The landing permit process for the UAE is standardized based on the Emirate. However, overflight permits and associated restrictions in the area are definite considerations when traveling in this region.


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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