Auth manager

Auth (for authentication/authorization) manager is the component in Airflow to handle user authentication and user authorization. They have a common API and are “pluggable”, meaning you can swap auth managers based on your installation needs.


Airflow can only have one auth manager configured at a time; this is set by the auth_manager option in the [core] section of the configuration file.


For more information on Airflow’s configuration, see Setting Configuration Options.

If you want to check which auth manager is currently set, you can use the airflow config get-value core auth_manager command:

$ airflow config get-value core auth_manager

Why pluggable auth managers?

Airflow is used by a lot of different users with a lot of different configurations. Some Airflow environment might be used by only one user and some might be used by thousand of users. An Airflow environment with only one (or very few) users does not need the same user management as an environment used by thousand of them.

This is why the whole user management (user authentication and user authorization) is packaged in one component called auth manager. So that it is easy to plug-and-play an auth manager that suits your specific needs.

By default, Airflow comes with the Flask AppBuilder (FAB) auth manager.


Switching to a different auth manager is a heavy operation and should be considered as such. It will impact users of the environment. The sign-in and sign-off experience will very likely change and disturb them if they are not advised. Plus, all current users and permissions will have to be copied over from the previous auth manager to the next.

Writing your own auth manager

All Airflow auth managers implement a common interface so that they are pluggable and any auth manager has access to all abilities and integrations within Airflow. This interface is used across Airflow to perform all user authentication and user authorization related operation.

The public interface is BaseAuthManager. You can look through the code for the most detailed and up to date interface, but some important highlights are outlined below.


For more information about Airflow’s public interface see Public Interface of Airflow.

Some reasons you may want to write a custom executor include:

  • An auth manager does not exist which fits your specific use case, such as a specific tool or service for user management.

  • You’d like to use an auth manager that leverages an identity provider from your preferred cloud provider.

  • You have a private user management tool that is only available to you or your organization.


Auth managers may vend CLI commands which will be included in the airflow command line tool by implementing the get_cli_commands method. The commands can be used to setup required resources. Commands are only vended for the currently configured auth manager. A pseudo-code example of implementing CLI command vending from an auth manager can be seen below:

def get_cli_commands() -> list[CLICommand]:
    sub_commands = [
            help="Description of what this specific command does",

    return [
            help="Description of what this group of commands do",


Currently there are no strict rules in place for the Airflow command namespace. It is up to developers to use names for their CLI commands that are sufficiently unique so as to not cause conflicts with other Airflow components.


When creating a new auth manager, or updating any existing auth manager, be sure to not import or execute any expensive operations/code at the module level. Auth manager classes are imported in several places and if they are slow to import this will negatively impact the performance of your Airflow environment, especially for CLI commands.

Rest API

Auth managers may vend Rest API endpoints which will be included in the REST API Reference by implementing the get_api_endpoints method. The endpoints can be used to manage resources such as users, groups, roles (if any) handled by your auth manager. Endpoints are only vended for the currently configured auth manager.

Next Steps

Once you have created a new auth manager class implementing the BaseAuthManager interface, you can configure Airflow to use it by setting the core.auth_manager configuration value to the module path of your auth manager:

auth_manager = my_company.auth_managers.MyCustomAuthManager


For more information on Airflow’s configuration, see Setting Configuration Options and for more information on managing Python modules in Airflow see Modules Management.

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