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Madagascar Transportations


Although the terrain makes railway building difficult and expensive, there are four main railways, all publicly operated, covering 854 km (2010). These run from Toamasina to Antananarivo, with a branch from Moramanga to Lake Alaotra; from Antananarivo to Antsirabe; and from Fianarantsoa to Manakara on the east coast.

There are about 65,663 km of roads on the island, of which 7,617 km were paved in 2003. The main roads radiate from Antananarivo to Mahajanga and Antsiranana, to Toamasina, to Fianarantsoa, and to Ihosy, from which one branch goes to Toliara (Tuléar) and another to Tolänaro (Fort Dauphin). The road from Antananarivo to Fianarantsoa is tarred, as are portions of the other main routes. In 2000, there were 39,900 passenger automobiles and 54,200 commercial vehicles in use.

The three major ports are Toamasina, Nosy Be, and Mahajanga; Toliara and Antsiranana are also important. There are at least 13 other ports, engaged mainly in coastal trade. There was considerable freight traffic along the Pangalanes Canal, which runs parallel to the east coast from Toamasina to Farafangana for a distance of 700 km. The canal was closed in 1979, however, because of silting; dredging had begun by 1985. The merchant fleet consisted of eight vessels in 2010.

In 2010, there were 84 airports, 27 of which had paved runways. The principal international airport is at Ivato, near Antananarivo. Air Madagascar (the national airline), Air France, Alitalia, Aeroflot, Air Mauritius, and Air Tanzania also provide international service. Air Madagascar, which is owned partly by Air France, also services internal locations. In 2001, 315,500 passengers were carried on domestic and international flights.


Airports :
84 (2010)

Airports - with paved runways :
total: 27
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 17
under 914 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways :
total: 57
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 35
under 914 m: 20 (2010)

Railways :
total: 854 km
narrow gauge: 854 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)

Roadways :
total: 65,663 km
paved: 7,617 km
unpaved: 58,046 km (2003)

Waterways :
600 km
note: 432 km navigable (2008)

Merchant marine :
total: 8
by type: cargo 4, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 2 (2010)

Ports and terminals :
Antsiranana (Diego Suarez), Mahajanga, Toamasina, Toliara (Tulear)