United Arab Emirates (UAE) officials announced the death of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on 13 May 2022 at the age of 73. The president, who had served as the country’s leader since 2004, had been ill for the past several years and was only marginally involved in state affairs after suffering a stroke in 2014. The Ministry of Presidential Affairs has declared an official mourning period of 40 days, effective immediately. Public and private sectors will suspend operations for the first three days. Although there was no immediate announcement regarding an heir, his brother — Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan — has been the de facto ruler for some time and is expected to be the successor.

Analyst Comment: While further specific proceedings have not yet been announced, a state funeral and multiple state gatherings are anticipated. The main events will likely take place in Abu Dhabi and Dubai; however, gatherings are also likely in other cities throughout the country. These events have the potential to result in significant ground transportation delays; airport operations may also be affected as foreign dignitaries arrive in the UAE for official services.