Cairo International Airport is Egypt’s biggest airport and the home hub of national carrier Egyptair. One of the region’s busiest, it can be difficult to get accurate information on the airport experience. This is exactly why this Cairo Airport Guide is here!
Where is Cairo Airport Located?
Cairo’s airport is located in the suburb of Heliopolis (or ‘sun city’). Heliopolis lies roughly 15 kilometers northeast of central Cairo and was once a separate town. It has three parallel runways, the largest of which is able to receive landings from the A380 superjumbo.
Terminals at Cairo International Airport
Four terminal buildings make up the airport. The fully-upgraded terminal 1 is sometimes still known as the ‘old airport’. It is subdivided into four halls. These receive flights from several international airlines. Hall 1 is where the majority of passengers depart from Cairo, while hall 3 sees the most arrivals. Meanwhile, hall 2 is almost entirely reserved for Saudia passengers. Hall 4 is unlikely to be of use since it is reserved for flights by private jet. The ‘AirMall’ shopping area is in hall 3.
European and Middle Eastern carriers use the newly renovated terminal 2. It contains the Al-Fursan Lounge for first-class Saudia passengers, as well as a duty-free shopping area. A bridge links terminal 2 to terminal 3.
This terminal is almost twice the size of terminals 1 and 2. It is the main terminal for Egyptair and Star Alliance members, such as Turkish Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines. It has 5,000 square meters of retail space and an international food court with European, Middle Eastern, and oriental foods.
West of terminal 3 lies the seasonal flights terminal. This is an overflow terminal for the Muslim pilgrimage to the hajj. All the terminals have banks and ATM facilities for currency exchange of major currencies.
Getting Between Terminals at Cairo Airport
The airport operates a MiniMetro automated transit system that connects terminal 1 with terminals 2 and 3. It also links to the airport’s multistory car park.
Getting to and From Cairo Airport by Road
If you’re arriving at Cairo Airport there are a range of options for heading by road from the terminal buildings to the center of Cairo. However, you might also want to consider organizing your tour of the sights for pick up directly from the airport instead. This is possible with our 2-day best of Cairo, 4-day highlights of Cairo and Alexandria, and our 7-day Cairo, Aswan and Luxor package. But don’t forget to check out all our tours in Cairo.
Alternatively, there are a variety of ways of reaching the downtown area, where you’ll find many of the top hotels in Cairo. The first and most comfortable are the ‘limousine’ services that wait outside the terminal buildings. You don’t have to opt for the opulence of a traditional limousine, however, with four different categories of vehicle available. These include people carriers with space for up to seven passengers. Charges are fixed and dependent on the distance to your destination. However, these services differ substantially in cost. To get the best price, shop around and be prepared to haggle.
Cairo also has a good number of taxis. By law, they must have an electronic meter to determine the fare. Drivers can avoid using these meters. You must insist on their use, or threaten to take an alternative vehicle.
Getting to and From Cairo Airport by Bus
Using the bus network from the airport to central Cairo is probably of most interest to budget travelers since the hassle largely outweighs any savings. You will first need to get a shuttle bus from the terminal building to Cairo Airport Bus Station.
From there you will need to find a bus heading in your direction, though there is very little information in any language other than Arabic. Common destinations include Tahrir Square. Keep a lookout for pickpockets at the bus station.
What’s more, you should also be aware, that Cairo buses are not built with large pieces of luggage in mind. Not only might you struggle to carry it up the steep steps, but there is little luggage space. You will have to purchase a ticket for your luggage if it’s taking up space for other passengers. In short, this option is only really recommended if you know Cairo well or are being met by a local.
CTA and MM bus companies operate most public buses in the city. They run from 6.30 am until 9.30 pm.
Getting to and From the Airport by Metro
At present Cairo’s metro system has no specific airport stop. The closest is that of Heliopolis, which would then require a taxi ride or 8 kilometers walk through the suburbs of Cairo to the terminal buildings. The metro operates until 1-2 am each night, with hours extended during the month of Ramadan.
Arriving Into Cairo
Looking for the best travel experiences in Egypt? Cairo International Airport is likely to be your starting point. Beyond this Cairo airport guide, you should also explore our guide to Egyptian culture and customs. Need to relax after the stress of the airport? Why not check out our spa and wellness guide to Egypt too?