Situated on flat, sandy ground on the south side of the major port city of Da Nang, the area was ideal for an airfield, having unobstructed approaches to its north/south runways. Tourane Airport was built by the French colonial government in the 1930s as a civilian airport. During World War II, and the Japanese occupation of French Indochina, the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force used it as a military air base.
B-26C Serial 44-34109 of the French Air Force - Over Indochina 1952. This aircraft was Returned to the USAF Oct 1955 and scrapped.After the war, the facility was used by the French Air Force during the French Indochina War (1945-1954). In 1953/54 the French laid a NATO-standard 7, 800-foot asphalt runway at Tourane and stationed loaned American B-26s "Invaders" of the Groupe de Bombardement 1/19 Gascogne. In 1954 after the Geneva Peace Accords, these B-26's were returned to the United States.
In 1955, the newly-established Republic of Vietnam Air Force (VNAF) inherited from the French a token force of fifty-eight aircraft. These included a few squadrons of Cessna L-19 observation aircraft, C-47 transports and various utility aircraft. Tourane Airfiled was turned over to civilian use, with the South Vietnamese using facilities at Bien Hoa, Nha Trang and at Tan Son Nhut, near Saigon.
In 1957 the VNAF re-established a presence at the renamed Da Nang Airport, stationing the 1st Liaison Squadron with Cessna L-19s. The South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) also used Da Nang as a ranger training facility.
Air Vietnam also used the facility from 1951 to 1975 for civilian domestic and international flights within Southeast Asia.
During the Vietnam War (1959-1975), the facility was known as Da Nang Air Base, and was a major United States military base. Once little more than a provincial airfield, the facility was expanded to 2350 acres (95 1 hectares) with two 10.000 ft (3048 m) asphalt runways with concrete touchdown pads. parallel taxiways, and a heliport.