Transfer at Cairo Airport


Cairo Airport operates four terminals. All the buildings are large, but the airport is still congested and, especially in the evening, there is little seating and long queues.

Terminals 2 and 3 are combined into one complex and Terminal 1 is located about 1.5 km away. Terminals 1, 2 and 3 are connected by a free automatic train running through the public area.

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Approximately 1 km west of Terminal 3, there is a seasonal terminal, mainly for charter flights to Saudi Arabia for the Muslim Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages.

The terminals are differentiated according to the airlines that serve them.

Domestic and international flights are handled from all terminals, each building has a small section without immigration control just for domestic flights.

  • Terminal 1 - Air Algerie, Air Arabia, Air Cairo, AlMasria Universal Airlines, Badr Airlines, Fly Egypt, Flynas, Iberia, Nesma Airlines, Nile Air, Tunisair
  • Terminal 2 - Air France, British Airways, Cyprus Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, ITA Airways, Flyadeal, Gulf Air, Jazeera Airways, Kuwait Airways, MEA, Neos, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, Saudia, Sichuan Airlines, Tarom, Transavia, Vueling
  • Terminal 3 - Aegean Airlines, Austrian, China Eastern Airlines, Egyptair, Ethiopian Airlines, LOT, Lufthansa, Swiss, Turkish Airlines
  • Terminal S - some Egyptair flights to/from Saudi Arabia and Hajj and Umrah charter flights

Egyptian visas - where to buy at Cairo Airport

On arrival from abroad, you must purchase a visa collection before attending the normal immigration checkpoint.

Visas are sold at bank branches and always cost 25 usd. You can only pay in cash, so it is essential to have the money before you fly to Egypt.

You can pay in US dollars or Euros, but the exchange rate is converted 1:1.

Security checks and queues

Ideally, arrive at Cairo airport at least 3.5 hours before your flight, especially if you have checked luggage. In this case, you'll face 4 queues straight away.

The first queue is already when you arrive by taxi to the airport area, when you go through the toll gate and can stand there for up to 15 minutes.

Next, there is a security check when you enter the terminal and a baggage scan. These checks tend to be quick, but if there are large numbers of people, you may be waiting up to 20 minutes.

Check-in queues vary by airline, but can take upwards of 60 minutes.

After that, you'll go through passport control, which is usually very quick (usually within 15 minutes), and the traditional security check between the public and transit areas (20-45 minutes).

Transfer between flights

Cairo airport is fairly well organised for transfers, as long as you don't have to move between terminals.

Within one terminal

Upon arrival, follow the yellow "Connecting Flights" signs that will take you to the transfer desks.

International <-> International

If you are transferring from an international flight to another international flight, you do not need to go through immigration.

You will present your passport with your boarding pass for the connecting flight at the transfer desk and will then be allowed direct access to the transit area.

Waiting times at transfer counters range between 5-20 minutes. After that, you can enter the departure gate area directly without going through security or passport control.

Realistic transfer times are around 40 to 60 minutes.

International -> Domestic

Upon arrival, visit the transfer desk again, watch for the "Domestic Departure" sign. From here you will be directed to the passport control created specifically for transferring passengers.

Your luggage will be automatically transferred if you have both flights on the same booking. However, always make sure to check in at your departure airport.

Realistic transfer times are around 60 to 80 minutes.

Transfer between terminals

Transferring between terminals is not very common at Cairo Airport, but it is not impossible either.

The process requires considerably more time and especially patience. Airport staff are notoriously unpleasant.

If you have a boarding pass for a connecting flight, again you must first visit the transfer desk upon arrival to present your passport and boarding pass.

After checking in, which can take up to 20 minutes, you will be escorted by a member of staff to a special departure gate, from which shuttle buses run around the tarmac (free of charge).

Frequency of service is 15-45 minutes.

  • Terminal 1 <-> Terminals 2 or 3 - bus journey time approx. 15 minutes
  • Terminal 2 <-> Terminal 3 - bus journey time approx. 2 minutes

You do not go through any security or immigration checks when transferring between terminals either.

Moving between terminals via the public section

If you have scheduled your transfer at Cairo Airport on your own and do not have a boarding pass for a connecting flight, you must always purchase an Egyptian visa and go through immigration out.

Terminals 2 and 3 are in close proximity and can be walked between in 3 minutes via an interior corridor and an exterior walkway.

A free automated monorail runs between Terminal 1 and Terminals 2 and 3. The train runs 24/7 at 5-10 minute intervals and the ride takes less than 5 minutes.

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