Like Mactan-Ebuen Air Base, Bautista shares its facility with the provincial airport. On 21 March 1975, the Puerto Princesa City Airport was improved and restructured and the PAF opened its base known as Puerto Princesa Air Base. The Base was named in honor of Colonel Antonio Bautista, a F-86 Sabre jet Pilot who was killed in action on 04 January 1974 engaged in a close air support mission against Muslim rebels.
Antonio Bautista Air Base is located on the narrow island of Palawan, making it the closest Philippine air base to the disputed Spratly Islands. The base shares a single, 9,000 foot long runway with Puerto Princesa Airport. (Coordinates: 9o44'31.50 N, 118o45'31.39 E).
The air base was opened on 21 March 1975 after the Philippine Air Force made improvements to the already existing civilian airport runway to make it suitable for military aircraft. The base was named after Colonel Antonio Bautista, a former PAF pilot who was shot down and killed during a battle with Philippine rebels in January 1974.
The 570th Composite Tactical Wing was based at Bautista AB and flew reconnaissance missions over the Spratly Islands to monitor the activities of other claimant nations. The 570th Composite Tactical Wing is the Air Force Component of the Western Command based on Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. While its mission - to perform tactical air operations within its assigned AOR and maintain base services at its location - is non-specific, the wing actually serves as the forward deployment point in Western Philippines and launch pad for operations over the Kalayaan Chain of Islands. Deployed air assets such as the UH-1H, N-22B, S-211, and F-5 at Antonio Bautista Air Base assure the Western Command of its tactical control of the area.
On 25 November 2007, an S-211 with 2 airmen aboard was dispatched from Bautista AB to search for a capsized ship and disappeared near the Kalayaan island chain, a series of 9 Spratly islands which the Philippines claims, but China partially occupies. The aircraft subsequently went missing. There was speculation that the Chinese military might have shot the plane down. However, the Philippine government's position was that the aircraft probably crashed due to pilot error.