The remoteness of the scattered islands has severely hampered transport and communications. There are only about 670 km (416 mi) of roads, mostly on Tarawa. The Nippon Causeway, completed in 1987 with Japanese assistance, has replaced ferry service between Betio and Bariki. A series of similar causeways links north and south Tarawa. In 1995, there were about 2,000 vehicles in Kiribati, almost three-quarters of which were motorcycles.
There is no rail, river, or lake transport, although canoes travel freely on the lagoons. The main ports are Betio islet, near Tarawa, and on Tabuaeran and Christmas islands. Betio is equipped for handling containers, and Banaba has a cantilever for phosphate loading. In 2001 Kiribati had 1 passenger-cargo ship at 1,291 GRT. A number of shipping lines call at the islands, and government boats provide interisland service. There were 21 airports in 2001, 4 with paved runways. All the major islands have airstrips; the airports on Christmas Island and at Bonriki (Tarawa) are used for scheduled overseas flights. Air Tungaru, the national airline, operates regularly scheduled flights to Honolulu and Tuvalu. In 1997, 28,000 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.