Dubai International vs World Central – Which Airport Is Best?

Traveling to Dubai, you have the option of two airports: Dubai International Airport (DXB), and Dubai World Central (DWC). However, if you’ve never visited Dubai before, you may not know which airport is best. We decided to compare the two on a number of factors!

Dubai Airports, Dubai International Airport, Dubai World Central
Dubai has two main airports, but which one is better? Photos: Dubai Airports

Location

If you’re heading to central Dubai, especially the area around the Burj Khalifa, you almost certainly want to fly to Dubai International Airport. It is located in the city, just 10km from the Dubai Mall. The airport is directly connected to the red metro line which runs right through the heart of the city. This is great for all but the late evening/early morning arrivals where the metro line is closed. In these cases, taxis and Uber are readily available, with an Uber to the Marina (the far end of the city) costing around 140AED (US$38).

Meanwhile, Dubai World Central is located out in the desert to the southeast of the city. The airport has no connection to the city’s metro system. The nearest metro station is UAE exchange, at the end of the city’s red line. Meanwhile, an Uber to the Marina will set you back 100AED ($27). Of course, once you are in Dubai, the Metro can be a great way to get around.

Dubai Airports, Dubai International Airport, Dubai World Central
World Central is much further from downtown Dubai, but also has much more room to expand. Image: Open Street Map/Simple Flying

Choice of airlines

Your choice of an airline will also likely dictate which airport you use. Most carriers serve Dubai International, with only a handful serving Dubai World Central. For example, if you want to fly from Budapest to Dubai, the Wizz Air flight would take you to World Central, while the Emirates flight would take you to Dubai International.

The main airlines using Dubai World Central are Wizz Air, flydubai, Aeroflot, Ural Airlines, Azur Air, and Condor. Meanwhile, Dubai International is home to Emirates, with most other international airlines also flying there as well.

Dubai Airports, Dubai International Airport, Dubai World Central
For now, Dubai International Airport remains the favourite for most carriers. Photo: Dubai Airports

Will Dubai World Central replace DXB?

Dubai World Central has been envisioned as a mega airport located halfway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. While Dubai International is surrounded by the city, DWC is surrounded by deserts. This means that the opportunities for expansion are much greater.

Dubai World Central is currently a rather small airport, playing host to the Dubai Airshow biannually. Reportedly, the airport’s owner has huge expansion plans involving a number of new runways and a dedicated flight school area for Emirates pilots. However, at the end of August Simple Flying reported that work on the new airport had come to a halt.

When questioned about this, the airport’s chairman Sheikh Ahmed told Simple Flying that Emirates needs the new airport given the number of new aircraft it has on order to expand its fleet. However, the plans for the airport have required some changes. While it was designed with the Airbus A380 in mind, a rethink was needed when the program was halted.

Which Dubai Airport do you prefer? Let us know your thoughts and why in the comments section.

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