Christmas Island Airport
|Christmas Island Airport|
|IATA: XCH – ICAO: YPXM|
|Operator||Toll Remote Logistics|
|Elevation AMSL||916 ft / 279 m|
|Sources: Australian AIP and aerodrome chart
Passenger and aircraft movements from the BITRE
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 km (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 Infrastructure and Transport, but is operated under contract by Toll Remote Logistics. 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 Royal Air Force (RAF) Short Sunderland flying boats before the construction of the airport.
A brief revival of the "old days" happened in 2001 during the "Tampa" crisis when the heightened Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) traffic was complemented by a large number of Department of Immigration and Citizenship (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 An-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 (1,969 ft) 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 airport's location at the top of a hill, with a 2% mid-runway gradient, makes it a challenging landing for pilots.
Airlines and destinations
|Virgin Australia||Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Perth|
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 RAAF and DIMIA arrivals.
|Year||Revenue passengers||Aircraft movements|
- Fiscal year 1 July - 30 June
- PDF). AIP En Route Supplement from Airservices Australia, effective 14 November 2013, Aeronautical Chart (
- "Airport Traffic Data 1985-86 to 2010-11". Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE). May 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012. Refers to "Regular Public Transport (RPT) operations only"
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