RAF Akrotiri is home of the Cyprus Operations Support Unit which provides joint support to British Forces Cyprus and operations in the region to protect the UK's strategic interests.

RAF Akrotiri is an extremely busy Permanent Joint Operating Base that supports ongoing operations in the region as well as support for the Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus. It is used as a forward mounting base for overseas operations in the Middle East and for fast jet training. 

RAF Akrotiri’s Griffin helicopters also play an important search and rescue function in collaboration with the Republic of Cyprus Police and National Guard Air Command.

Those living at RAF Akrotiri can apply for passes for guests visiting the Station via the Holiday Visitor Pass Booking Form

The Peninsula is Always Ready


Group Captain Nikki Thomas OBE MA BENG RAF

Group Captain Nikki Thomas joined the RAF as a Navigator in 2000. Posted to the Tornado GR4 in 2003, she completed numerous operational deployments in Iraq and qualified as a Ground and Airborne Forward Air Controller and Qualified Weapons Instructor. Selected for promotion to Squadron Leader in 2008, Nikki joined 31 Sqn where she led the first Marham Tornado Afghanistan deployment.

In 2010, she moved to the Ministry of Defence managing UK Military Flying Training capability before being selected as Staff Officer to the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff. Graduating the Advanced Command and Staff Course in 2013 with an MA in Defence Studies, Nikki was promoted back into the Ministry of Defence as part of the Carrier Enabled Power Projection team.

In 2015, Nikki assumed command of the newly reinvigorated 12(B) Sqn, back on the Tornado. Disbanding 12(B) Sqn in February 2018, she was appointed an OBE for her leadership and operational output. She was subsequently promoted to Group Captain and attended the Higher Command and Staff Course in January 2020. On graduating the course, she was selected to be Station Commander, RAF Akrotiri, assuming command in June 2020.

Who's based here


  • 1955 - 'Unit' established.
  • 1963 - The Princess Mary’s Hospital opened.
  • 1986 - Surprise attack by a group of terrorists with mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms - three British dependants were wounded although damage was negligible.
  • 2006 - Over 2,000 UK citizens left Lebanon on 18 to 19 July. The evacuees were taken by boat to a reception centre at RAF Akrotiri.
  • 2015 - Four boats carrying 140 refugees came ashore at RAF Akrotiri marking the first time since the crisis began that people have landed directly on what is considered British sovereign soil.


RAF Akrotiri began on 1 July 1955 when the first 30 personnel posted to the ‘Unit’ established themselves in the flat, dry, rocky scrubland on the windswept Akrotiri Peninsula.

Nicosia Airport was temporarily closed as a result of terrorist activity and the handling of the Island’s civil aviation was diverted to Akrotiri with a tented ‘civil airport reception centre' to match. An RAF Regiment Light Anti-Aircraft Wing was also brought in.

By the end of August 1956, Station strength had reached 260 officers and 2864 other ranks, a massive increase in 12 months. It brought with it 1430 personnel on the daily sick-parade, mainly a result of the over-crowding and insanitary conditions, as construction lagged behind the unforeseen demand for accommodation.

From its rough beginnings with caravans and mud tracks, the Station was laid out, roads made, hangars and some permanent buildings constructed. 

Following the withdrawal from east of Suez, the Station peaked in the 1960s and 1970s; Lightning, Vulcan, Hercules, Argosy, and Canberra aircraft and Whirlwind and Wessex helicopters all operated from RAF Akrotiri as permanently-based squadrons.

By the end of the 1980s only the helicopters of 84 Squadron remained and the Station began its life as a training, forward operating and forward mounting base.

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