For two close neighbouring cities running huge international airlines, there’s one thing you think could be better organised in the UAE – that is connections between Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) and Dubai – and vice versa!
A complimentary airline bus service does operate between Dubai and AUH for Etihad customers if they have booked to start/end their journey with the correct code. However, its existence remains a bit of a mystery to travellers, and it’s only open to those flying with Etihad.
That’s why we’re super excited this week to see Abu Dhabi Airports has announced the new AUH Express shuttle service!
Note that the new Abu Dhabi International Airport Terminal A will transition into service from 1 to 14 November 2023. We describe exactly how the move to the new airport is schedulded to happen over here – presently the information below reflects operations from the old Terminals 1-3; the AUH Express will operate from both airports during the transition period.
AUH Express – Abu Dhabi Airport Shuttle to/from Dubai
A newly launched service, AUH Express, will connect passengers from Abu Dhabi International Airport to Ibn Battuta Bus Station in Dubai.
Here’s what you need to know:
What will the Abu Dhabi Airport Shuttle Cost?
The Abu Dhabi International Airport shuttle service – which will be known as AUH Express – will cost passengers 35 AED ($8.20 USD) each way.
This is a little bit more than the Intercity Bus service that runs Abu Dhabi to Dubai and vice versa, but remember, you are getting a point-to-point service here, so much faster, no need to catch a local bus into Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station in Al Wadha.
A note for Wizz Air Passengers
Under an existing agreement with operator Capital Express, passengers holding a WizzAir ticket may use the AUH Express service for free as the cost of the ticket has already been included in their airline ticket.
Where do I board the AUH Express?
You can buy tickets and board the service at Abu Dhabi International Airport (Terminal 1 & 3, or Terminal 2) or Ibn Battuta Bus Station in Dubai.
Ibn Battuta Bus Station in Dubai is connected to the Red Line Metro, from where you can complete your journey in Dubai. Plentiful taxis and buses are also available from Ibn Battuta.
How long will the journey take on the Abu Dhabi Airport Shuttle?
The journey from AUH to Dubai will be approximately 1 hour 15 minutes, traffic-dependent.
How often does AUH Express run?
We’ve been advised that the service will run 24/7. However, the initial timetable that has been released seems to indicate the service only runs overnight. This is when the bulk of flights come and go at AUH, but worth bearing in mind if you have a daytime flight.
AUH Express Timetable AUH to Ibn Battuta
|Departs AUH T2||Departs AUH T1/T3||Arrives Ibn Battuta|
AUH Express Timetable Ibn Battuta to AUH
|Departs Ibn Battuta||Arrives AUH T1/T3||Arrives AUH T2|
Timings to be aware of! Although Ibn Battuta has great connections, be aware that the Dubai Metro shuts at 1:15am during the week and 2:15am at weekends. Factor this into your onward connections.
Do I need to pre-book my AUH Express shuttle ticket?
No, passengers are able to use this as a walk-up service. Online booking has been made possible though here.
There is a bus counter after you pass customs and collect your bags in the arrivals hall of AUH.
You’ll need to locate the AUH Express counter at Ibn Batutta Bus Station from Dubai. As far as we’re aware, you CAN NOT use a Dubai Nol card to pay for the fare, you will need cash or a credit card.
Flying with Etihad – Free Coach to/from Dubai
The new shuttle service will not replace the Etihad complimentary coach service. Both services are due to continue running, servicing different passenger needs.
Passengers wanting to use the Etihad coach must bear in mind that the service MUST be pre-booked at least 24 hours before their flight to guarantee their seat. The airline does now take walk-up passengers, but they are charged 25 AED.
To use the free Etihad coach service, you must hold an EY flight ticket or codeshare and complete the online form here (or if using a travel agent, they can do this for you).
There are 10 daily services running at present from Downtown Dubai to AUH.
Note that the departure point in Dubai has changed; the new Etihad office is at Al Wasl Centre (not Mazaya Shopping Centre). You’ll find it just behind the Safestway Supermarket on Sheikh Zayed Road.
Air Arabia AUH To Dubai
Another airline joining the complimentary bus connection service is AirArabia. They are offering a twice-daily service from AUH to their office in Dubai, located at Shop 6, Al Sharafi Building No1, Karama (Opposite Karama Post Office)
The AirArabia coach service will depart at:
- 11:30 AM AUH to AirArabia Karama Office 2:00 PM
- 11:30 PM AUH to AirArabia Karama Office 2:00 AM
Please contact AirArabia to confirm they are still offering this service +971 4 388 0788 / +971 2 815 3455
Emirates Abu Dhabi to Dubai
Emirates also offers passengers from Abu Dhabi a complimentary coach transfer to DXB, but it’s very important to note that this service does NOT depart from AUH.
The Emirates office is based on the Abu Dhabi Corniche, 30-40 minute drive FURTHER AWAY from Dubai!
If you landed at AUH and wanted to use the Emirates complimentary coach, you’d have to take a taxi or take local bus services to the Emirates office to connect. The coach then drives back the way you just came!
On the plus side, once you’re on the bus you’ll get dropped at the door for DXB, no further connections needed in Dubai.
The same service runs in return, you can board the Emirates free coach at DXB and it will drop you back to the Abu Dhabi Corniche. Like Etihad, this service should be pre-booked in advance.
Direct connection AUH to DXB
Unfortunately, as much as the AUH Express is a vast improvement in transport connections between the two cities, it still does not resolve the fact that there’s no direct connection between the two major international airports of the UAE.
You can continue your journey to DXB from Ibn Battuta on the Metro but do bear in mind that it will add at least another hour to your journey, plus train/bus station connections.
If you plan connecting flights between the two cities, you should allow yourself a minimum of 6 hours in case there are any deals in connections.
Before you go… Important things to consider when planning a trip to Abu Dhabi
- Pop into our essential planning information page; it includes everything you need to know about getting around Abu Dhabi, a handy guide on what to pack and top tips for first-timers on the dos and don’ts, laws, and customs in the UAE.
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!
- Discover the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
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