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Christmas Island Airport

Christmas Island Airport

Location on a map of the Indian Ocean
Airport type Public
Operator PDL Toll
Location Christmas Island
Elevation AMSL 916 ft / 279 m
Coordinates 10°27′02″S 105°41′25″E / 10.45056°S 105.69028°E / -10.45056; 105.69028
Direction Length Surface
m ft
18/36 2,103 6,900 Asphalt
Source: DAFIF

Christmas Island Airport (IATA: XCH, ICAO: YPXM) is an airport located on Christmas Island, a territory of Australia in the Indian Ocean. The island is located 2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi) northwest of the Western Australian city of Perth, 500 km (310 mi) south of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, and 975 km (606 mi) east-northeast of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Although located on Australian territory, the airport is classified as a Category 4 international airport for all arrivals, including those from Australia. It is owned by the Department of Transport and Regional Services (DOTARS), but is operated under contract by PDL Toll. The Government's decision to contract its airport operations in 2004 resulted in a reduction of the work force, which caused major industrial upheaval on a local basis, seeing Forte Airport Management, the contractor at the time, forced to defend in the Industrial Relations Commission its right to recruit staff under an Australian Workplace Agreement.


From the late 1940s, when the island was still a British colony administered by Singapore and the Straits Settlements Administration, it was serviced occasionally by RAF Short Sunderland flying boats before the construction of the airport. Landing at Christmas Island in flying boats was difficult, since there is no sheltered port. As a result, aircraft were sometimes damaged landing in the ocean swells, and had to wait for spare parts and engineers to come by plane.

"Tampa" crisis

A brief revival of the "old days" happened in 2001 during the "Tampa" crisis when the heightened RAAF traffic was complemented by a large number of DIMIA and media charters. During this incident, traffic at the airport is said to have been "near-continuous". Traffic relating to the processing of refugees and illegal immigrants has been frequent since the days of the "Tampa", and is set to continue with completion of the construction of a permanent processing centre on the island.

Satellite launch facility

After the closure of the casino, the Resort was taken over by the Asia Pacific Space Centre, which developed plans for a satellite launch facility on Christmas Island. The company, with solid financial participation from the Australian Government, had planned to start satellite launches in 2004. Technical staff was to include 350-400 Russian rocket scientists and engineers, and componentry was to be flown in on Antonov 124 and Boeing 747 freighters. To achieve this, the airport would need major extensions, and the Government allocated around A$55m to the task. This included a 600 m runway extension, plus additional taxiways, apron space, and other infrastructure, and resulted in a major review of the airport master plan, which is still current today. The master plan was reviewed on a "significant project" basis, and does not require structural review in the short term. For various reasons, the space project did not reach maturity, and the planned extensions were not carried out.


The airport resides at an elevation of 916 feet (279 m) above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 18/36 with an asphalt surface measuring 2,103 by 45 metres (6,900 × 148 ft).

The airport's location at the top of a hill, with a 2% mid-runway gradient, makes it a challenging landing for pilots.


Traffic to and from the airport varies greatly. The occasional charters from overseas airlines, such as Malaysia Airlines and SilkAir occur from time to time. Tourist attractions such as the migration of the Christmas Island red crab and the island's Christmas Island Resort have caused spikes in traffic levels. The construction of an immigration detention centre on the island resulted in a temporary increase in Royal Australian Air Force and Department of Immigration and Citizenship arrivals.

Airlines and destinations

Airlines Destinations
Virgin Blue Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Perth

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General Info
Country Christmas Island
Time UTC+7
Latitude -10.450556
10° 27' 02.00" S
Longitude 105.690278
105° 41' 25.00" E
Elevation 916 feet
279 meters
Magnetic Variation 000° E (01/06)
Operating Agency PRIVATE

CTAF 122.8
RDO 3470
Communications Remarks  
UNIC (required)

ID Dimensions Surface PCN ILS
18/36 6900 x 148 feet
2103 x 45 meters

Type ID Name Channel Freq Distance From Field Bearing From Navaid

Fuel Jet A1, without icing nhibitor.

CAUTION Bird haz. Exp moderate turbulence on late final apch when sfc wind velocity exceeds 15K-especially fr E drct. Apch guidance extensively infringed - confine IMC or ngt opr to E of rwy.
FUEL PN fone C08 9164 7419. (NC-A1)
LGT Tmpry lgt emerg only.
MISC Flt plan briefing thru Brisbane. Fone 07 3866 3517
RSTD PPR fr Christmas Island Administrator fone C08 9164 8498. Acft abv 72,994 lb GWTuse turn-arounds at rwy ends for 18 turns. Mandatory bcst wi 30 NM to all stn 122.8 to incl acft CS, type, posn, alt, and rwy to be used. Ngt opr by hi capacft rstd to F-28, B737, BAE146 and F100.
TFC PAT Rwy 36 rgt traffic. Rwy 18 pref ngt OPS.

The content above was published at in 2010.
We don't guarantee the information is fresh and accurate. The data may be wrong or outdated.
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