Why Does Emirates Operate Bus Services From Abu Dhabi To Dubai? – Gulf Insider

Five times a day, one of the most unique services an airline provides departs from an Emirates office in downtown Abu Dhabi. A coach bus soon heads off onto the highways of the United Arab Emirates, making the two-hour and fifteen-minute trek from the nation’s capital to Dubai International Airport (DXB).

At 03:00, 06:00, 09:30, 16:30, and 22:00, Emirates economy and premium economy class passengers load onto this service, taking them directly to the airline’s Dubai hub. After their journeys abroad, passengers again pack onto the Emirates coaches at 03:00, 06:30, 10:00, 15:00, and 23:00 and embark on another 135-minute journey back to Abu Dhabi.

Most airlines don’t provide any kind of ground transportation, and far fewer provide it to economy class passengers. Therefore, what drives Emirates to operate such a one-of-a-kind service for passengers from Abu Dhabi?

Competition with Etihad

A critical factor that drives Emirates to operate this bus service is competition with rival flag carrier Etihad Airways, which also operates a bus service between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Since Etihad maintains its primary intercontinental hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH), traveling from the city is obviously far more attractive on Emirates’ rival carrier.

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However, making travel from Abu Dhabi to Dubai slightly more straightforward could help Emirates poach some passengers from its rival flag carrier. Unsurprisingly, Etihad attempts to do the same, operating free shuttle bus services from Dubai to its Abu Dhabi hub.

Not Emirates’ only bus service

Surprisingly, this bus service isn’t the only one in Emirates’ operational network, despite a competitor airline not maintaining a large hub anywhere within driving distance of Dubai. Service from Al Ain, an oasis town in the Eastern United Arab Emirates near the border with Oman, is operated once a day.

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Shuttles depart Al Ain at 17:00 each evening, arriving at Dubai International a few hours later. In the return direction, the shuttles depart from Dubai at 02:30.

Additionally, Emirates’ bus services aren’t limited to the United Arab Emirates. Recently, the carrier began service from Kansai International Airport (KIX) and Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) to some of the largest train stations in their respective Japanese cities. In the future, Emirates will likely look to continue these unique services to bolster its network’s capabilities.

How can you book an Emirates bus service?

In order to take advantage of this bus service, passengers must hold a valid Emirates economy or premium economy ticket, and a shuttle connection must be reserved a minimum of 48 hours in advance. Specifically, a passenger’s ticket must be issued by Emirates, and reservations booked through other airlines will not be accepted.

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When booking on the Emirates site, booking directly from Abu Dhabi or Al Ain is vital if one intends to take the shuttle, as this will allow for a seamless bus reservation. Passengers should also note that the same baggage allowances apply for bus travel as for the flight they are connecting onto. Additionally, at least two hours must be scheduled between a passenger’s arrival at the airport and their flight’s departure.


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Works as an in-house Writer at Gulf Tech Plus and focuses on the latest smart consumer electronics. Closely follows the latest trends in consumer IoT and how it affects our daily lives. You can follow him on Facebook, Instagram & YouTube.

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