Skip to main content
Version: 0.16.16

How to Use Great Expectations with Airflow

Learn how to run a Great Expectations checkpoint in Apache Airflow, and how to use an Expectation Suite within an Airflow directed acyclic graphs (DAG) to trigger a data asset validation.

Airflow is a data orchestration tool for creating and maintaining data pipelines through DAGs written in Python. DAGs complete work through operators, which are templates that encapsulate a specific type of work. This document explains how to use the GreatExpectationsOperator to perform data quality work in an Airflow DAG.

Before you create your DAG, make sure you have a Data Context and Checkpoint configured. A Data Context represents a Great Expectations project. It organizes storage and access for Expectation Suites, Datasources, notification settings, and data fixtures. Checkpoints provide a convenient abstraction for bundling the validation of a Batch (or Batches) of data against an Expectation Suite (or several), as well as the actions that should be taken after the validation.

This guide focuses on using Great Expectations with Airflow in a self-hosted environment. To use Great Expectations with Airflow within Astronomer, see Orchestrate Great Expectations with Airflow.


Install the GreatExpectationsOperator

Run the following command to install the Great Expectations provider in your Airflow environment:

pip install airflow-provider-great-expectations==0.1.1

GX recommends specifying a version when installing the package. To make use of the latest Great Expectations provider for Airflow, specify version 0.1.0 or later.

The current Great Expectations release requires Airflow 2.1 or later. If you're still running Airflow 1.x, you need to upgrade to 2.1 or later before using the GreatExpectationsOperator.

Use the GreatExpectationsOperator

Before you can use the GreatExpectationsOperator, you need to import it into your DAG. Depending on how you're using the operator, you might need to import the DataContextConfig, CheckpointConfig, or BatchRequest classes. To import the Great Expectations provider and config and batch classes in a given DAG, add the following line to the top of the DAG file in your dags directory:

from great_expectations_provider.operators.great_expectations import GreatExpectationsOperator
from great_expectations.core.batch import BatchRequest
from great_expectations.data_context.types.base import (

To use the operator in the DAG, define an instance of the GreatExpectationsOperator class and assign it to a variable. In the following example, two different instances of the operator are defined to complete two different steps in a data quality check workflow:

ge_data_context_root_dir_with_checkpoint_name_pass = GreatExpectationsOperator(
checkpoint_name="version-0.16.16 taxi.pass.chk",

ge_data_context_config_with_checkpoint_config_pass = GreatExpectationsOperator(

After you define your work with operators, you define a relationship to specify the order that your DAG completes the work. For example, adding the following code to your DAG ensures that your name pass task has to complete before your config pass task can start:

ge_data_context_root_dir_with_checkpoint_name_pass >> ge_data_context_config_with_checkpoint_config_pass

Operator parameters

The operator has several optional parameters, but it always requires a data_context_root_dir or a data_context_config and a checkpoint_name or checkpoint_config.

The data_context_root_dir should point to the great_expectations project directory that was generated when you created the project. If you're using an in-memory data_context_config, a DataContextConfig must be defined. See this example.

A checkpoint_name references a checkpoint in the project CheckpointStore defined in the DataContext (which is often the great_expectations/checkpoints/ path), so that a checkpoint_name = "version-0.16.16 taxi.pass.chk" would reference the file great_expectations/checkpoints/taxi/pass/chk.yml. With a checkpoint_name, checkpoint_kwargs can be passed to the operator to specify additional, overwriting configurations. A checkpoint_config can be passed to the operator in place of a name, and is defined like this example.

For a full list of parameters, see GreatExpectationsOperator.

Connections and backends

The GreatExpectationsOperator can run a checkpoint on a dataset stored in any backend that is compatible with Great Expectations. All that’s needed to get the Operator to point to an external dataset is to set up an Airflow Connection to the Datasource, and adding the connection to your Great Expectations project. If you're using a DataContextConfig or CheckpointConfig, ensure that the "datasources" field references your backend connection name.