Concept

King Abdulaziz Air Base

Summary
King Abdulaziz Air Base (قاعدة الملك عبدالعزيز الجوية) , also known as Dhahran Air Base and formerly Dhahran International Airport, Dhahran Airport and Dhahran Airfield, is a Royal Saudi Air Force base located in Dhahran in the Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. Located west of Thuqbah and 7 km (4 mi) southeast of the Saudi Aramco Dhahran Camp, the airbase was the first Saudi Arabian airport to be constructed, in 1961, and is under the command of Air vice-marshal Prince Turki bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The airbase was initially built and operated by the United States Air Force from 1945 until 1962 and was known as the Dhahran Airfield. After use by the USAF, it was converted for commercial use and was known as the Dhahran International Airport, and was shared with the King Abdulaziz Air Base of the Royal Saudi Air Force. The military relationship that exists today between the United States and Saudi Arabia was highly influenced by the origin and development of this airfield. During its commercial use phase from 1962 to 1999, it was one of Saudi Arabia's most influential and busy passenger airports and was commemorated on the 2nd issue 5-riyal banknotes and the 3rd issue 1-riyal banknotes. After the completion and inauguration of the King Fahd International Airport further north, the airport lost its commercial status and was once again converted for military use only; albeit by the Royal Saudi Air Force, which still uses it today. During World War II, the Persian Gulf and Arabian Peninsula were important staging and shipping routes for the U.S. to provide both lend-lease assistance to the Soviet Union, as well as supply the allied forces fighting the Imperial Japanese forces in Asia. Owing to Saudi Arabia's importance, primarily its location, in 1943 the US extended lend-lease status to Saudi Arabia, one of only three Arab countries to receive this aid. In 1944, the U.S. War Department (renamed in 1949 the United States Department of Defense) proposed building an airbase in or near Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
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