RAF Akrotiri News

Group Captain Nikki Thomas Takes the Reins at RAF Akrotiri

Group Captain Nikki Thomas has assumed the appointment of Station Commander at RAF Akrotiri from Group Captain Chris Snaith this week.

Gp Capt Thomas, who has been taking time in recent weeks to meet many of the personnel around the Station, spoke about how much she is looking forward to getting stuck into the role:

“When I arrived, I immediately felt a real buzz from the Station. I am delighted to have assumed command at RAF Akrotiri. I feel humble and privileged to be working alongside a brilliant team of people who do such an amazing job. I am not sure that words can really describe the sense of pride I am feeling today but hopefully the fact I cannot stop grinning from ear to ear shows how much this role means me.”

Gp Capt Thomas, who began her career in the Royal Air Force as a Tornado Navigator, became the first female fast jet Squadron Commander of No 12 Bomber Squadron at RAF Marham in 2015. She has previously served at RAF Akrotiri several times as part of Op SHADER.

“RAF Akrotiri’s output is such an important part of defence, but we can only deliver it because of the superb effort of the whole team who work here and those supporting the Station. Everyone has been extremely welcoming, and I have already seen a real sense of community across the whole base and into the local area.”

As is tradition at RAF Akrotiri, Gp Capt Thomas formally took command of the Station at a socially-distanced parade on Friday 5 June.

“I am really looking forward to getting involved in everything that both Akrotiri and Cyprus have to offer. I know my job will be extremely busy, but I am excited about joining in with clubs and activities across the Station and I also can’t wait to explore the island. We don’t often get the opportunity to serve in such a unique location, so I really want to make the most of the opportunity.

“I do not underestimate the challenges I will face in my role as the Station Commander, but that is part of the fun. It has been immediately apparent that RAF Akrotiri has an excellent reputation and is in really good shape so my first challenge will be to ensure that I keep that going. Looking further ahead, I cannot guess what might be on the horizon but it is clear that we will need to continue to support operations as our main effort, while focussing on making RAF Akrotiri a brilliant place to work and live.”

Gp Capt Snaith was surprised with a Guard of Honour following the handover parade

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