Beja Air Base
|In use||1964 - present|
|Elevation AMSL||636 ft / 194 m|
Beja Air Base (Portuguese: Base Aérea de Beja; IATA: BYJ, ICAO: LPBJ), officially designated as Air Base No. 11 (Portuguese: Base Aérea Nº 11, BA11) is one of the most important military airbases in Portugal, 9 km (5.6 mi) northwest of Beja, 100 km (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 3,450 m × 60 m (11,320 ft × 200 ft). The base is home to two training squadrons, one helicopter squadron and one maritime patrol squadron.
The base was established in 21 October 1964, originally built to serve as a training facility for the German Air Force, due to airspace limitations within West Germany. The Luftwaffe operated from the airbase until 1993, during which period it was used particularly for weapons training. 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. From 1993 to present, the Portuguese Air Force has operated Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet aircraft from the airbase, which were donated by Germany as compensation for leaving the air base in 1993.
The base is now modern and well-equipped, employing around 1,000 personnel. It comprises two parallel runways running north/south (01L/19R, 01R/19L, the largest being 3,450 m (11,320 ft) in length and the other 2,951 m (9,682 ft) long. A third parallel runway/taxiway supports its helicopter facilities. 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. 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 15 operational aircraft. 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. The 601st Squadron currently uses 7 P-3 Orion aircraft which provide 24/7 search and rescue and anti-submarine warfare cover.
Beja's runway is the only mainland Portugal runway capable of accommodating an Airbus A380; Portuguese wet lease airplane company Hi Fly will operate its A380, purchased second-hand in 2018, from Beja.