The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has opened the newly renovated runway at Royal Air Force (RAF) Akrotiri in Cyprus.

The £46m upgrade project, carried out at the UK’s main airbase for operations against ISIS, was completed in 21 months by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) without disrupting operations.

DIO chief executive Graham Dalton said: “This is a crucial asset for DIO and this project has been a huge success.

"DIO has worked with our customers and contractors to successfully carry out this critical work while minimising the impact on operations."

The RAF conducted more than 1,200 sorties against ISIS targets since the campaign began in 2014.

“This is a crucial asset for DIO and this project has been a huge success."

UK Minister for the Armed Forces Mike Penning said: “This project has taken a tired and battered runway and transformed it into a modern, safe, 21st century facility, capable of supporting operations for the next 20 years and beyond.

“This has been a unique and remarkable achievement. RAF Akrotiri is not just a refuelling spot or training base.

“This airfield matters. It has been at the forefront of supporting our most important military operations over the last decade and more, including the current campaign against ISIS.”

British Forces Cyprus is expected to become the largest Permanent Joint Operating Base, and permanent deployment of UK troops overseas in 2019.

Image: Night-time work on the RAF Akrotiri runway. Photo: courtesy of UK Government.