Kiribati, officially the Independent and Sovereign Republic of Kiribati, is an island nation in the central tropical Pacific Ocean. The permanent population is just over 100,000 (2011) on 800 square kilometres (310 sq mi). The nation is composed of 32 atolls and one raised coral island, Banaba, dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometres, (1,351,000 square miles) straddling the equator, and bordering the International Date Line at its easternmost point amidst the Line Islands.
Kiribati consists of about 32 atolls and one solitary island (Banaba), extending into the eastern and western hemispheres, as well as the northern and southern hemispheres. It is the only country that is situated within all four hemispheres. The groups of islands are:
Banaba: an isolated island between Nauru and the Gilbert Islands
Gilbert Islands: 16 atolls located some 1,500 kilometres (932 mi) north of Fiji
Phoenix Islands: 8 atolls and coral islands located some 1,800 kilometres (1,118 mi) southeast of the Gilberts
Line Islands: 8 atolls and one reef, located about 3,300 kilometres (2,051 mi) east of the Gilberts.
The climate is pleasant from April to October, with predominant northeastern winds and stable temperatures close to 30 °C (86 °F). From November to March, western gales bring rain and occasional hurricanes.
Precipitation varies significantly between islands. For example, the annual average is 3,000 mm (120 in) in the north and 500 mm (20 in) in the south of the Gilbert Islands. Most of these islands are in the dry belt of the equatorial oceanic climatic zone and experience prolonged droughts.
Kiribati is one of the world's poorest countries. It has few natural resources. Commercially viable phosphate deposits on Banaba were exhausted at the time of independence. Copra and fish now represent the bulk of production and exports. Kiribati is considered one of the least developed countries in the world. In one form or another, Kiribati gets a large portion of its income from abroad. Examples include fishing licenses, development assistance, worker remittances, and tourism. Given Kiribati's limited domestic production ability, it must import nearly all of its essential foodstuffs and manufactured items; it depends on these external sources of income for financing.
Beginning in January 2009, Kiribati has two domestic airlines: Air Kiribati and Coral Sun Airways. Both airlines are based in Tarawa's Bonriki International Airport and serve destinations across the Gilbert Islands only.
Neither the Phoenix nor Line Islands are served by the domestic carriers. Fiji's national carrier Fiji Airways provides an international service to Cassidy International Airport on Kiritimati from Fiji's main airport, Nadi International Airport.