This page gives details of some of the air bases and airfields which are, or have been, used by the Lebanese Air Force.
Beirut Air Base (IATA code: BEY, ICAO code: OLBA)
Beirut Air Base comprises the military base at the western end of Beirut International Airport (Rafic Hariri Airport) at Khalde (or Kaldeh). It is located 9 km (5.6 mls) from Beirut city centre, in the southern suburbs. It was first established in 1950 and substantially expanded to take jet and helicopter operations in the 1960s. It is now the home of 8 Squadron with Gazelles, and 10 & 11 Squadrons flying UH-1Hs.
Runway data: Rwy 03/21, Size: 12467 x 148 ft (3800 x 45 m) concrete; Rwy 16/34, Size: 11138 x 148 ft (3395 x 45 m) concrete; Rwy 17/35 (closed), Size: 10663 x 197 ft (3250 x 60 m) asphalt; Elev: 87 ft (27 m), N33° 49′ 15.35″ E035° 29′ 18.20″.
Halate Air Base (IATA code: n/a, ICAO code: n/a)
Halate AB (or Halat airstrip) was a section of the Beirut-Tripoli highway, taken over by the Lebanese Air Force when its existing air bases came under the control of anti-government forces. It was located near Byblos, 40 km north of Beirut and used between 1983 and 1990. Highway traffic was diverted to an older road closer to the coast. It was rejoined to the highway in 1991, leaving little trace of its other use. During the period of use it was home to the Hunters of 2 Sqn, Magisters of 6 Sqn and Bulldogs of the Ecole de l’Air.
Runway data: Rwy ?/?, Size: 5250 x ? ft (1600 x ? m), Elev: ? ft (? m), N34° 6′ 11″ E035° 39′ 12″, concrete.
Istabel (ICAO code: ?)
Istabel (or Al Istable) Airport is located south of Chtoura in the Bekaa. It has been used by the Lebanese Air Force on an occasional basis. Date of construction not known, although presumably it was of Franch construction. It has been closed since the 1960s.
Runway data: Rwy ?/?, Size: ? x ? ft (? x ? m), Elev: ? ft (? m), N- E-, concrete.
Iyate (ICAO code: ?)
Iyate (or Ayate) Airport is located near to Baalbek in the north east of Lebanon. It has been used by the Lebanese Air Force on an occasional basis. Date of construction not known, although presumably it was of Franch construction. It had two concrete runways, but has been closed since the 1960s.
Runway data: Rwy ?/?, Size: ? x ? ft (? x ? m), Elev: ? ft (? m), N34° 2′ 56″ E036° 10′ 29″, concrete.
Kleyate Air Base (IATA code: KYE, ICAO code: OLKA)
Also known as Rene Mouawad Air Base. Kleyate (or Qlaiaat) is located in the far north west corner of Lebanon, north east of Tripoli, close to the coastline and only 6 km from the Syrian border. It was originally built in the early 1960s for an oil company, and taken over by the Lebanese Army in 1966. The initial occupants were ? Squadron flying Vampires. In April 1968 it became the main base for Mirage III operations with 5 Squadron. It fell unde Syrian control between 1976 and 2005. In 1990 the base was officially renamed Rene Mouawad Air Base. During the 1990s it became a dual civil/military facility with regular flights by Middle East Airlines. It is now the home of 14 Squadron flying UH-1Hs.
Runway data: Rwy 06/24, Size: 9843 x 148 ft (3000 x 45 m), Elev: 75 ft (23 m), N34° 35′ 21.60″ E036° 00′ 40.76″, concrete.
Rayak Air Base (IATA code: RAY, ICAO Code: OLRA)
Rayak is located in the middle of the Bekaa between Zahle and Baalbeck. Rayak (or Rayaq) was first built in 1914 by the Germans to support Ottoman Army operations in the region. It was later occupied by Allied forces and officially transferred to French control in 1924 under the League of Nations mandate. Under French administration it was built-up into a major military aviation facility. Although Lebanon became independent in 1944, it was not until 1949 that the French Air Force finally withdrew form the site. Rayak then became the home base for the Lebanese Air Force upon its establishment on 1 June 1949. The base is the home of the Lebanese Air Force Flying School and the Technical School. It was the main base for Hawker Hunter operations during the 1970s and again from 2008. It now accomodates 12 Squadron flying UH-1Hs and 15 Squadron with R44s.
Runway data: Rwy 04/22, Size: 9740 x 148 ft (2969 x 45 m), Elev: 3018 ft (920 m), N33° 51′ 02.78″ E035° 59′ 15.87″, concrete.