Major highways and bridges
- E11 - It is the longest road in the UAE; it stretches from Al Silah in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and ends in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. It has various alternate names: Sheikh Maktoum Road in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai and Sheikh Muhammad bin Salem Road in Ras Al Khaimah.
- E311 or Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road - It was known as Emirates road. The road links Dubai to the rest of the emirates.
- E611 or Emirates Bypass road - It is 110 km long. It provides an alternative route to Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed roads for drivers from Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman and Sharjah, heading to Abu Dhabi without having to go through downtown Dubai.
- Sheikh Khalifa highway - It links Dubai and Fujairah; shortening the distance by 20 to 30 km as opposed to older routes.
- Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed road - It links the villages in the eastern region.
- Dubai-Fujairah road - It passes through the Hatta mountain range and goes through the emirates of Dubai, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah.
- Dubai-Al Ain road
- Sheikh Zayed Bridge - It is 842 metres long and 64 metres high. It is the third traffic route connecting the mainland to the island of Abu Dhabi.
Construction of roads
The UAE continues to construct and maintain roads in accordance with international standards, using the best technology that fits the country's environmental conditions. The roads' projects aim to improve efficiency of traffic and connect parts of the country with a modern road network.
The UAE has been ranked first globally in the transport infrastructure indicator, according to Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016, issued by World Economic Forum. This came as a result of the sophisticated infrastructure projects in the country aimed at achieving Vision 2021.
In 2015, the Follow up Committee of Initiatives of the President approved road projects worth AED 1.74 billion. Some of these projects include constructing:
- a 42-km road that will link the Sheikh Khalifa road from Maliha passing though Madam up to Al Shuwaib; this project would cost AED 660 million
- a 60-km road that will connect Wadi Al Qura with the road leading to Lahbab roundabout to Nizwa highway, linking the eastern and western regions.
In Dubai, a toll (salik) of AED 4 is levied when cars and motorcycles pass through the salik gates. Read about how to buy and recharge the salik tag and the location of salik gates.
Download the Salik app.
To match with the steep rise in sewage generation as a direct effect of increase in the UAE's population, the government is investing in upgrading and extending sewer systems to ensure a sustainable sewage disposal and treatment system. Some of these projects are mentioned below by emirate.
In 2009, Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company (ADSCC) launched an AED 5.7 billion (USD 1.6 billion) Strategic Tunnel Enhancement Programme (STEP), which includes building 41 km of deep sewer tunnels.
In 2014, an ambitious environmental plan was revealed to treat and re-use all of the emirate's wastewater to irrigate farms and parks within four years.
Dubai is planning to get a new deep tunnel sewerage system costing AED 12.5 billion in the next five years, to replace more than 121 sewerage pumping stations. The new deep tunnel system makes use of gravity for the collection of sewage.
In addition, a project to expand the Jebel Ali sewerage plant has been approved and will cost AED 1.3 billion. When it is completed, it will serve 1.35 million people and will bring the plant's capacity to 675,000 cubic metres daily, which is double its current capacity.
Sharjah Municipality opened a new underground sewerage treatment plant in April 2012 to cater for residential areas, in addition to the AED 227 million sewerage treatment plant at Al Sajaa area. The main sewerage treatment plant at the fifth industrial area will undergo an expansion to increase its capacity from 30, 000 cubic metres to 50,000 cubic metres daily.
Ajman had its first sewerage treatment network in 2009, which was built by Ajman Sewage Company, one of the first sewage projects' PPPs in the region.
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The UAE has constructed civic facilities such as schools, hospitals and other vital utilities to enhance community cohesiveness.
The UAE Cabinet has allocated more than 50 per cent of the federal budget of 2016, amounting to AED 48.5 billion, to health, education and social services collectively.
According to Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority (FCSA), in 2014, there were 107 hospitals including 33 government hospitals, with around 11,000 beds in all.
Educational facilities increased since the establishment of the Federation in 1971. The total number of schools in the UAE as of 2013 was around 1174 schools, which consist of 685 public and 489 private schools.
The UAE's civil airports are:
Abu Dhabi International Airport (IATA code: AUH)
Abu Dhabi International Airport is located in Khalifa City A, Abu Dhabi. The airport handled 23 million passengers in 2015. Some of the airport’s facilities include:
- Smart gate - for those with machine-readable passports
- US pre-clearance facility
- Parking services
- Prayer rooms
- Sleeping pods
- Smoking areas
- Toilets and showers
- Baby strollers, baby changing rooms and dedicated children’s play area
- VIP terminal
- Shopping, dining and unwinding.
Airport services include:
- Banking services and currency exchange
- Baggage services
- Business services
- Fast track service
- Car hire
- Internet and telephone
- Meet & Assist services
- Medical help
- Newspapers and magazines
- Porters, trolleys and buggies
- Post office
- Duty-free shopping
- Travel services
- VIP services.
Useful links from the website of Abu Dhabi International Airport:
Useful links from the website of Abu Dhabi Airports:
Al Bateen Executive Airport
Al Bateen Executive Airport is situated on the Abu Dhabi island. It is a world-class executive facility, providing services to chartered flights. The airport offers the following facilities:
- Professional meet and greet
- Hotel arrangements
- Limousine services
- Catering services through on-site catering company
- Meeting and conference facilities
- Fast and private baggage screening
- Fast transit time.
Delma Airport is located on the Delma island in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. It essentially serves the 6,000 residents of this 45-square-kilometre island by connecting them to the city of Abu Dhabi with a 45-minute flight.
Sir Bani Yas Airport
Operating since 2008, Sir Bani Yas Airport caters mainly to the tourists visiting the island. It is located 250km southwest of Abu Dhabi coast in the western region of Al Dhafrah.
Al Ain International Airport (IATA code: AAN)
Al Ain International Airport is located in the Al Ain city of Abu Dhabi emirate. It is located 18km northwest of Al Ain city. It is operating since 1994 and serves nine destinations. The airport was originally built to serve 1,000 passengers per peak hour. It has a 4,000-metre runway and a parallel 4,000-metre taxiway that can double as a runway as needed.
Dubai International Airport (IATA code: DXB)
Dubai International Airport opened in 1960. Since then, passengers have grown by an average of 15 per cent per year. The airport serves more than 66 million people a year, flying them to over 260 destinations across 6 continents on more than 140 scheduled airlines. The airport has 3 terminals.
Terminal 3 is dedicated for use by Emirates Airline. It includes Concourse A, the world’s first and largest purpose-built facility for A380.
At this terminal, citizens and residents of the UAE can use the UAEWallet app to pass through the immigration counters. The UAEWallet app incorporates personal data from Emirates ID, passport and eGate card and facilitates quick passage. Travellers must register with the UAEWallet app before travelling. At the immigration counter, travellers must scan the machine-readable barcodes generated by the UAEWallet app to pass through the 'smart' gates. The UAEWallet app is available on iTunes and Google Play.
Terminal 2 is home to Dubai’s budget airline FlyDubai. It is located to the north of Terminal 1 and caters to scheduled, charter and special interest flights during special occasions. About 50 airlines operate out of this terminal. The capacity of arriving and departing passengers is 1200 peak hours respectively and 5 million annually.
Terminal 1 serves more than 60 international carriers. Connected to Concourse D through an airport train, Terminal 1 offers capacity to accommodate more than 20 million passengers annually.
Al Maktoum Airport (IATA code: DWC)
Al Maktoum Airport is located at the south of Dubai city. It is being designed to become the world's biggest airport with a capacity to handle more than 160 million passengers per year. It will also serve as a multi-modal logistics hub for 12 million tonnes of freight.
Check services at Dubai airports.
Sharjah International Airport (IATA code: SHJ)
Sharjah International Airport is home to Air Arabia. It is located 13km southeast of Sharjah. Find out the facilities and services at the airport.
Ras Al Khaimah International Airport (IATA code: RKT)
Air Arabia operates a few flights from Ras Al Khaimah International Airport; mainly to Bangladesh, Egypt, Nepal, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Sultanate of Oman. Find out the facilities and services at the airport.
Fujairah International Airport (IATA code: FJR)
Fujairah International Airport is the UAE's only airport on the east coast. It became operational on 29 October 1987. See the terminal map and passenger services.
For information about specific facilities, refer to the websites of the airports in the UAE or contact the airports concerned.
eGates and 'smart' gates
UAE citizens and residents can make quick exit through the eGates without having to stand in queues at immigration counters. You can use the eGate by scanning the Emirates ID card. However, first you need to register with the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC).
'Smart' gate can be accessed by those with a machine-readable passport. However, first, they would need to complete the eye scan procedure and register with an immigration officer. If you do not have a machine-readable passport, or are travelling with children under 7 years, you can use the standard passport counters. 'Smart' gates can be used by UAE citizens, residents, GCC nationals and nationalities that are eligible for visa on arrival.
How to use the 'smart' gate
- Scan your passport's personal details' page; the 'smart' gate will open.
- Enter into the 'smart' gate and stand on the footprints marked.
- Look towards the camera and wait for 'Ok' to be displayed on the screen.
- Exit when the gate opens and proceed to baggage reclaim.
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New aviation projects
Abu Dhabi Airport Expansion-Midfield Terminal
The 700,000-square metre terminal building is one of the key projects in Abu Dhabi and the UAE, to develop a world-class air transportation hub. The Midfield Terminal Building (MTB) represents one of the largest investments by the UAE to deliver the needed infrastructure, in line with Abu Dhabi Plan 2030, that will cater to the growth of the aviation sector in the region and confirms Abu Dhabi's strong position in the global air transportation network.
The AED 10.8 billion MTB is expected to be completed in 2017. It is part of a wider ten-year (2009-2019), AED 37 to AED 40 billion airport expansion plan. It will initially handle 27 to 30 million passengers per year once operational and cater to Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways and the carriers it holds stakes in.
The MTB design focuses on passenger experience, highest quality and service standards, including the International Air Transport Association's 'A' level of service which is the highest levels of space allocation for passenger processing areas. The design targets to achieve 'Two Pearl Rating', in line with the 'Estidama' approach towards sustainable design.
Operational highlights include:
- Piers would accommodate up to 65 aircraft, including the Airbus A-380
- Check-in facilities would be capable of handling around 8,500 passengers per hour
- Check-in facilities would include 165 conventional counters and 48 self-service kiosks
- Airline lounges would cover 30,000 square metres
- Parking areas would accommodate 3,400 cars for short term and 1,500 cars for long term
- Retail (including food and beverage) space would cover 28,000 square metres
- Baggage system would process over 19,000 bags per hour with over 22 kilometres of conveying lines and 10 reclaim carousels
Al Maktoum International Airport expansion
Al Maktoum International Airport is set for its next phase of growth to expand its passenger terminal building. The building, which was opened in 2013 with a size of 66,107 square metres, will expand to 145,926 square metres.
The project includes a new immigration hall with 55 control counters within the arrivals building, as well as a new baggage handling system.
In the departure building, the public hall, commercial areas, the check-in hall and offices would all be extended. It would have 100 traditional check-in counters, as well as 7 economy and 4 business class self-service check-in counters, 26 passport control checkpoints (including six e-gate counters) and 24 boarding lounges.
A series of further extensions are planned under later phases that are designed to raise its maximum capacity to 26.5 million passengers a year.
The UAE's seaports are international and regional hubs and an essential factor in driving economic growth and facilitating economic diversification.
The country's sea transportation sector is developing steadily in terms of ports, operating ships, maintaining and constructing dry docks in accordance with the international standards on maritime safety and protection of the marine environment.
The UAE has several seaports. According to the World Shipping Council, two of the world's top 50 container ports are in the UAE, with Dubai featuring among the top ten.
Overall, 61 per cent of cargo destined for GCC states arrives via the UAE's seaports. The UAE has 12 commercial trading ports, other than oil ports. It contains 310 berths, with cargo tonnage of 80 million tonnes.
Major seaports in the UAE include:
- Zayed Port - This port in Abu Dhabi city was the emirate's main general cargo port for 40 years. Currently, it is dedicated for cruise liners.
- Mina Rashid and Jebel Ali Port - These ports in Dubai city are operated by DP world and play a pivotal role in the trade in the UAE.
- Khor Fakkan Container Terminal (KCT) - This port in Sharjah is the only natural deep water port in the region, with a strategic geographical position for deep sea container trade.
- Mina Saqr in Sharjah
- Fujairah Port - It is a multi-purpose port which is strategically located at the Gulf of Oman.
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Khalifa port is a massive new AED 26.5 billion, 420 square kilometres port that will spring industrial development in Al Taweelah area in Abu Dhabi. It is the first semi-automated port in the Middle East and North Africa. The commercial activities of the port started on 1 September 2012. Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) is developing the project and Abu Dhabi Terminals (ADT) operates its terminals.
In its present phase of development, the port has an annual capacity of 2.5 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) and 12 million tonnes of general cargo. When all development phases would be completed, Khalifa Port is expected to increase its capacity for container volumes to 15 million TEUs and 35 million tonnes of general cargo per year.
Upon completion, Khalifa Port would become the main commercial port of Abu Dhabi and will accommodate the maritime traffic of Mina Zayed Port.
With market access to an estimated 4.5 billion people within four time zones, Khalifa Port can accommodate the biggest ships. Currently, the port serves 17 shipping lines, offers direct services and direct connections to more than 40 international destinations as well as transshipment at the world's main hubs.
It will also serve as a main gateway for Kizad, which is set to become the largest industrial city in the region covering an area of nearly 420 square kilometres of prime industrial land.
Updated on 29 Oct 2017