RAF Akrotiri is one of the few full-scale Royal Air Force stations left outside the United Kingdom. It is located on the island of Cyprus, but it is not part of the territory of the government in Nicosia. When the UK granted Cypriot independence in 1958, it retained a small amount of territory to create the UK sovereign bases. Akrotiri stands within the limits of that territory.
Akrotiri was first constructed in the mid-1950s to relieve pressure on the main RAF base on the island, RAF Nicosia. In the aftermath of the Egyptian repudiation of the Anglo-Egyptian treaty, British forces had to be withdrawn from the Canal Zone in Egypt. After the ending of the League of Nations mandate over Palestine in 1948, the only other British territory in the eastern Mediterranean was Cyprus. Consequently, the withdrawal from Egypt caused an enormous buid-up of forces in Cyprus. This period also coincided with the outbreak of the internal security problems of Enosis in Cyprus, further increasing pressure on the RAF airfields on the island.