Chad suffers from poor transportation both within the country and to outside markets; its economic development depends on the expansion of transport facilities. During the rainy season, the roads become impassable and the economy slows down almost to a standstill. There are no railways.
In 2002 there were an estimated 33,400 km (20,754 mi) of roads, of which only 450 km (280 mi) were paved. In 1992 there were about 8,720 passenger cars and 12,350 commercial vehicles in use, including trucks and buses. The main export routes are to the Nigerian railhead of Maiduguri and the Cameroonian railhead of Ngaoundéré. A bridge across the Chari, linking N'Djamena to Kousséri, Cameroon, was completed in 1985. In the same year, a US $19.2 million loan for road rehabilitation was provided by the IDA.
Most rivers flow but intermittently. On the Chari, between N'Djamena and Lake Chad, transportation is possible all year round. In September and October, the Logone is navigable between N'Djamena and Moundou, and the Shari between N'Djamena and Sarh. Total waterways cover 4,800 km (3,000 mi), of which 2,000 km (1,250 mi) are navigable all year.
Chad had 49 airports in 2001, seven with paved runways. Air Tchad (60% state owned) provides internal service to 12 locations but suffers from lack of fuel and equipment. The international airport at N'Djamena was damaged in fighting in 1981, but is now served by several international carriers including Air Afrique, which is partly owned by Chad. Another major airport, developed as a military staging area, is located at Sarh. In 1997, scheduled airlines in Chad carried 93,000 passengers on domestic and international flights.