The microbial community response during the oxygen biostimulation process of aged oil-polluted soils is poorly documented and there is no reference for the long-term monitoring of the unsaturated zone. To assess the potential effect of air supply on hydrocarbon fate and microbial community structure, two treatments (0 and 0.056 mol h⁻¹ molar flow rate of oxygen) were performed in fixed bed reactors containing oil-polluted soil. Microbial activity was monitored continuously over 2 years throughout the oxygen biostimulation process. Microbial community structure before and after treatment for 12 and 24 months was determined using a dual rRNA/rRNA gene approach, allowing us to characterize bacteria that were presumably metabolically active and therefore responsible for the functionality of the community in this polluted soil. Clone library analysis revealed that the microbial community contained many rare phylotypes. These have never been observed in other studied ecosystems. The bacterial community shifted from Gammaproteobacteria to Actinobacteria during the treatment. Without aeration, the samples were dominated by a phylotype linked to the Streptomyces. Members belonging to eight dominant phylotypes were well adapted to the aeration process. Aeration stimulated an Actinobacteria phylotype that might be involved in restoring the ecosystem studied. Phylogenetic analyses suggested that this phylotype is a novel, deep-branching member of the Actinobacteria related to the well-studied genus Acidimicrobium.