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Villamor Air Base
Nichols Air Base
Nichols Field
Airport type Public/Military
Operator Philippine Air Force
Serves Manila
Location Parañaque City and Pasay City, Metro Manila
In use 1940's - present
Elevation AMSL 23 m / 75 ft
Coordinates 14°30′31″N 121°01′10″E / 14.50861°N 121.01944°E / 14.50861; 121.01944
Website [1]
Direction Length Surface
m ft
06/24 3,737 12,261 Concrete
13/31 2,258 7,408 Concrete

Villamor Air Base (IATA: MNL, ICAO: RPLL) named for WWII Filipino pilot Jesús A. Villamor is the home of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and shares runways with the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Chiefly used as a PAF transport/helicopter airbase, it is also the military installation that the Philippine president uses when departing for foreign or domestic trips, though foreign departures are mostly done at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Units stationed at Villamor Airbase include:

  • 250th Presidential Airlift Wing
  • 520th Airbase Wing
  • 505th Search and Rescue Group
  • 207th Tactical Operations Squadron

Two North American A-27s of the 17th Pursuit Squadron at Nichols Field in 1941.

History[edit | edit source]

Nichols Field was built in the 1930s by the United States during the Philippine Commonwealth period and in 1941 was used as a USAAF airfield in the South West Pacific Theatre. The field was the location of the Far East Air Force's U.S. 20th Air Base Group. Also, based at the field was Troop F of the U.S. 26th Cavalry Regiment. A Fifth Air Force - Emblem (World War II).svg Fifth Air Force base, Nichols Field was within the territory of the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, December 1942–January 1945.

Nichols Air Base[edit | edit source]

Designated Nichols Air Base after Philippine independence, in 1997 the base was reduced to make way for construction of NAIA Terminal 3 and Newport City.

In 2007, a Skyway exit to both the air base and NAIA Terminal 3 was completed.

In 2010, the AVSECOM van (called by some as Ninoy Aquino's death van) which had carried the body of Ninoy Aquino to the hospital after his assassination in 1983 was found rotting inside Nichols air base (now called Villamor Airbase). This was reported only two years later in the popular ABS-CBN News website.[1] Photos of this "death van" were subsequently posted on the blog site of the Filipino investigative journalist, Raissa Robles, who reported the discovery.[2]

Nichols'--e.g., for the whole NAIA complex--Nichols Field, and Villamor are colloquial and code names for the surrounding area.

References[edit | edit source]

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