It is chiefly used as an air base for PAF transport and helicopter flights. It is also the military base that the Philippine president uses when departing for foreign or domestic trips abroad, though foreign departures are mostly done at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The air base is named in honor of a Filipino pilot, Jesus A. Villamor, who fought during World War II.
The base was originally called Nichols Field during the time of the Philippine Commonwealth period and later as Nichols Air Base after Philippine independence. The complex also includes the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. In 1997, the base was reduced to a small portion to make way for the construction of NAIA Terminal 3.