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Beja Air Base
Airport type Military
Serves Beja
In use 1964 - present
Elevation AMSL 636 ft / 194 m
Coordinates 38°4′40″N 7°55′42″W / 38.07778°N 7.92833°W / 38.07778; -7.92833Coordinates: 38°4′40″N 7°55′42″W / 38.07778°N 7.92833°W / 38.07778; -7.92833
Direction Length Surface
m ft
01L/19R 3,500 11,483 Asphalt
01R/19L 2,950 9,678 Asphalt

Beja Air Base (Portuguese: Base Aérea de Beja), designated as Air Base No. 11 (Portuguese: Base Aérea Nº 11, BA11) is one of the most important military airbase in Portugal near the city of Beja, 100 kilometres (62 mi) north of Algarve. It is used by the Portuguese Air Force and has two parallel runways in the 01/19 direction, the biggest being 3,500 meters long and 60 meters wide. The base is home to two training squadrons, one helicopter squadron and one maritime patrol squadron.



The base was established on 21 October 1964, originally built to serve as a training facility for the Luftwaffe, due to airspace limitations within West Germany.[1] Until 1993 it was used particularly for weapons training, and in 1987 the Portuguese Air Force's 103 Squadron using Lockheed T-33 and Northrop T-38 aircraft was relocated from Montijo. After their arrival, the base started to host a mixed array of fixed and rotary-wing trainers, as well as maritime patrol aircraft.[1]

Current state

The base is now modern and well-equipped, employing around 1,000 personnel.[1] It comprises two parallel runways running north/south (01L/19R, 19L/01R), the largest being 3,450 metres (11,300 ft) in length and the other 2,951 metres (9,680 ft) long. A third parallel runway/taxiway supports its helicopter facilities.[1] Beja Air Base is one of the most important training facilities of the Portuguese Air Force and during 2008 operated over 70,000 flying hours.[2] The first training phase comprises flying on Socata TB 30 Epsilon aircraft, while the final course is made on Alpha Jets of the 103 Squadron which currently has operational 15 aircraft.[3] The 552nd Squadron operates 12 Alouette III helicopters tasked with tactical transport for the army, helicopter pilot training and occasional search and rescue. The Alouette helicopters made a total of 314,000 flight hours and are due to be replaced by Agusta AW109 or Eurocopter Colibri by 2011.[4] The 601st Squadron currently uses 7 P-3 Orion aircraft which provide 24/7 search and rescue and anti-submarine warfare cover.[5]

Currently, construction of a civilian terminal is underway at Beja, the airport specifically aiming at low cost carriers.[6]

Tenant units

Portuguese Air Force
  • 101 Sqn. "Roncos" (Roars) — elementary and basic flying training[6]
  • 103 Sqn. "Caracóis" (Snails) — complementary flying training and operational transition training[3]
  • 552 Sqn. "Zangões" (Drones) — tactical air transport operations and complementary flying training in helicopters[4]
  • 601 Sqn. "Lobos" (Wolves) — maritime patrol squadron[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Air Forces Monthly, p. 36.
  2. ^ Air Forces Monthly, p. 38.
  3. ^ a b Air Forces Monthly, p. 39.
  4. ^ a b Air Forces Monthly, p. 40.
  5. ^ a b Air Forces Monthly, p. 41.
  6. ^ a b Air Forces Monthly, p. 37.


  • Base Tour: Beja, Portugal - Portuguese Super Base, Air Forces Monthly magazine, March 2009 issue.

External links



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