Access the Airflow REST API

Cloud Composer 1 | Cloud Composer 2 | Cloud Composer 3

Apache Airflow has a REST API interface that you can use to perform tasks such as getting information about DAG runs and tasks, updating DAGs, getting Airflow configuration, adding and deleting connections, and listing users.

For an example of using Airflow REST API with Cloud Functions, see Triggering DAGs with Cloud Functions.

Airflow REST API versions

The following Airflow REST API versions are available in Cloud Composer 1:

  • Airflow 2 uses the stable REST API. The experimental REST API is deprecated by Airflow.

  • You can still use the experimental REST API in Airflow 2 if you enable it through an Airflow configuration override, as described further.

Before you begin

Enable the Cloud Composer API.

Enable the API

Enable the stable Airflow REST API

Airflow 2

The stable REST API is already enabled by default in Airflow 2.

Cloud Composer uses its own API authentication backend, which is integrated with Identity-Aware Proxy.

Authorization works in the standard way provided by Airflow. When a new user authorizes through the API, the user's account gets the Op role by default.

You can enable or disable the stable REST API, or change the default user role by overriding the following Airflow configuration options:

Section Key Value Notes
api (Airflow 2.2.5 and earlier) auth_backend
(Airflow 2.3.0 and later) auth_backends
airflow.composer.api.backend.composer_auth To disable the stable REST API, change to airflow.api.auth.backend.deny_all
api composer_auth_user_registration_role Op You can specify any other role.

Airflow 1

The stable REST API is not available in Airflow 1. You can use the experimental REST API instead.

Enable the experimental Airflow REST API

Airflow 2

By default, the API authentication feature is disabled in the experimental API. The Airflow web server denies all requests that you make.

To enable the API authentication feature and the Airflow 2 experimental API, override the following Airflow configuration option:

Section Key Value Notes
api (Airflow 2.2.5 and earlier) auth_backend
(Airflow 2.3.0 and later) auth_backends
airflow.api.auth.backend.default The default is airflow.composer.api.backend.composer_auth.
api enable_experimental_api True The default is False.

Airflow 1

By default, the API authentication feature is disabled in Airflow 1.10.11 and later versions. The Airflow web server denies all requests that you make. You use requests to trigger DAGs, so enable this feature.

To enable the API authentication feature in Airflow 1, override the following Airflow configuration option:

Section Key Value Notes
api auth_backend airflow.api.auth.backend.default The default is airflow.api.auth.backend.deny_all

After you set this configuration option to airflow.api.auth.backend.default, the Airflow web server accepts all API requests without authentication. Even though the Airflow web server itself does not require authentication, it is still protected by Identity-Aware Proxy which provides its own authentication layer.

Allow API calls to Airflow REST API using Webserver Access Control

Depending on the method used to call Airflow REST API, the caller method can be using either IPv4 or IPv6 address. Remember to unblock IP traffic to Airflow REST API using Webserver Access Control.

Use the default configuration option which is All IP addresses have access (default) if you are not sure from which IP addresses your calls to Airflow REST API will be sent.

Make calls to Airflow REST API

Get the client_id of the IAM proxy

To make a request to the Airflow REST API endpoint, the function requires the client ID of the IAM proxy that protects the Airflow web server.

Cloud Composer does not provide this information directly. Instead, make an unauthenticated request to the Airflow web server and capture the client ID from the redirect URL:


curl -v AIRFLOW_URL 2>&1 >/dev/null | grep -o "client_id\=[A-Za-z0-9-]*\.apps\.googleusercontent\.com"

Replace AIRFLOW_URL with the URL of the Airflow web interface.

In the output, search for the string following client_id. For example:


Save the following code in a file called Fill in your values for project_id, location, and composer_environment, then run the code in Cloud Shell or your local environment.

# This script is intended to be used with Composer 1 environments
# In Composer 2, the Airflow Webserver is not in the tenant project
# so there is no tenant client ID
# See
# for more details
import google.auth
import google.auth.transport.requests
import requests
import six.moves.urllib.parse

# Authenticate with Google Cloud.
# See:
credentials, _ = google.auth.default(
authed_session = google.auth.transport.requests.AuthorizedSession(credentials)

# project_id = 'YOUR_PROJECT_ID'
# location = 'us-central1'
# composer_environment = 'YOUR_COMPOSER_ENVIRONMENT_NAME'

environment_url = (
).format(project_id, location, composer_environment)
composer_response = authed_session.request("GET", environment_url)
environment_data = composer_response.json()
composer_version = environment_data["config"]["softwareConfig"]["imageVersion"]
if "composer-1" not in composer_version:
    version_error = (
        "This script is intended to be used with Composer 1 environments. "
        "In Composer 2, the Airflow Webserver is not in the tenant project, "
        "so there is no tenant client ID. "
        "See for more details."
    raise (RuntimeError(version_error))
airflow_uri = environment_data["config"]["airflowUri"]

# The Composer environment response does not include the IAP client ID.
# Make a second, unauthenticated HTTP request to the web server to get the
# redirect URI.
redirect_response = requests.get(airflow_uri, allow_redirects=False)
redirect_location = redirect_response.headers["location"]

# Extract the client_id query parameter from the redirect.
parsed = six.moves.urllib.parse.urlparse(redirect_location)
query_string = six.moves.urllib.parse.parse_qs(parsed.query)

Call Airflow REST API using client_id

Make the following replacements:

  • Replace the value of the client_id variable with the client_id value obtained in the previous step.
  • Replace the value of the webserver_id variable with your tenant project ID, which is a part of the Airflow web interface URL before You obtained the Airflow web interface URL on a previous step.
  • Specify the Airflow REST API version that you use:

    • If you use the stable Airflow REST API, set the USE_EXPERIMENTAL_API variable to False.
    • If you use the experimental Airflow REST API, no changes are needed. The USE_EXPERIMENTAL_API variable is already set to True.

from google.auth.transport.requests import Request
from google.oauth2 import id_token
import requests

# If you are using the stable API, set this value to False
# For more info about Airflow APIs see

def trigger_dag(data, context=None):
    """Makes a POST request to the Composer DAG Trigger API

    When called via Google Cloud Functions (GCF),
    data and context are Background function parameters.

    For more info, refer to

    To call this function from a Python script, omit the ``context`` argument
    and pass in a non-null value for the ``data`` argument.

    This function is currently only compatible with Composer v1 environments.

    # Fill in with your Composer info here
    # Navigate to your webserver's login page and get this from the URL
    # Or use the script found at
    client_id = "YOUR-CLIENT-ID"
    # This should be part of your webserver's URL:
    # {tenant-project-id}
    webserver_id = "YOUR-TENANT-PROJECT"
    # The name of the DAG you wish to trigger
    dag_name = "composer_sample_trigger_response_dag"

        endpoint = f"api/experimental/dags/{dag_name}/dag_runs"
        json_data = {"conf": data, "replace_microseconds": "false"}
        endpoint = f"api/v1/dags/{dag_name}/dagRuns"
        json_data = {"conf": data}
    webserver_url = "https://" + webserver_id + "" + endpoint
    # Make a POST request to IAP which then Triggers the DAG
    make_iap_request(webserver_url, client_id, method="POST", json=json_data)

# This code is copied from
def make_iap_request(url, client_id, method="GET", **kwargs):
    """Makes a request to an application protected by Identity-Aware Proxy.
      url: The Identity-Aware Proxy-protected URL to fetch.
      client_id: The client ID used by Identity-Aware Proxy.
      method: The request method to use
              ('GET', 'OPTIONS', 'HEAD', 'POST', 'PUT', 'PATCH', 'DELETE')
      **kwargs: Any of the parameters defined for the request function:
                If no timeout is provided, it is set to 90 by default.
      The page body, or raises an exception if the page couldn't be retrieved.
    # Set the default timeout, if missing
    if "timeout" not in kwargs:
        kwargs["timeout"] = 90

    # Obtain an OpenID Connect (OIDC) token from metadata server or using service
    # account.
    google_open_id_connect_token = id_token.fetch_id_token(Request(), client_id)

    # Fetch the Identity-Aware Proxy-protected URL, including an
    # Authorization header containing "Bearer " followed by a
    # Google-issued OpenID Connect token for the service account.
    resp = requests.request(
        headers={"Authorization": "Bearer {}".format(google_open_id_connect_token)},
    if resp.status_code == 403:
        raise Exception(
            "Service account does not have permission to "
            "access the IAP-protected application."
    elif resp.status_code != 200:
        raise Exception(
            "Bad response from application: {!r} / {!r} / {!r}".format(
                resp.status_code, resp.headers, resp.text
        return resp.text


Access Airflow REST API using a service account

The Airflow database limits the length of the email field to 64 characters. Service accounts sometimes have email addresses that are longer than 64 characters. It is not possible to create Airflow users for such service accounts in the usual way. If there is no Airflow user for such a service account, then accessing the Airflow REST API results in HTTP errors 401 and 403.

As a workaround, you can preregister an Airflow user for a service account. To do so, use as the username, and any unique string as the email.

  1. To get NUMERIC_USER_ID for a service account, run:

    gcloud iam service-accounts describe \ \


    • SA_NAME with the service account name.
    • PROJECT_ID with the Project ID.
  2. Create an Airflow user with the Op role for the service account:

    Airflow UI

    1. Go to the Airflow UI.

    2. Go to Admin > Users and click Create. Your Airflow user must have the Admin role to open this page.

    3. Specify as the user name. Replace NUMERIC_USER_ID with the user ID obtained on the previous step.

    4. Specify a unique identifier as the email. You can use any unique string.

    5. Specify the role for the user. For example, Op.

    6. Make sure that Is Active? checkbox is selected.

    7. Specify the first and the last name for the user. You can use any string.

    8. Click Save.


    In Airflow 2, run the following Airflow CLI command:

    gcloud composer environments run ENVIRONMENT_NAME \
        --location LOCATION \
        users create -- \
        -u \
        -e UNIQUE_ID  \
        -f UNIQUE_ID \
        -l - -r Op --use-random-password


    • ENVIRONMENT_NAME with the name of the environment.
    • LOCATION with the region where the environment is located.
    • NUMERIC_USER_ID with the user ID obtained in the previous step.
    • UNIQUE_ID with the identifier for the Airflow user. You can use any unique string.
  3. After you create an Airflow user for a service account, a caller authenticated as the service account is recognized as a pre-registered user, and is logged into Airflow.

Scaling Airflow REST API component

Airflow REST API and Airflow UI endpoints are run within the component, i.e. Airflow Webserver. In case, you use REST API intensively, consider increasing CPU and memory parameters to adjust Airflow Webserver resources to the expected load.

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