Jordan - Transportation

Jordan's transportation facilities are underdeveloped, but improvements have been made in recent years. The third development plan (1986–90) allotted JD 445 million for transportation. A good road network links the principal towns and connects with Syria, Iraq, and Sa'udi Arabia. In 2002 all of Jordan's estimated 8,000 km (4,971 mi) of road was paved. Passenger automobiles numbered 107,500; trucks, buses, and other commercial vehicles totaled 91,800 in 2000.

The rail system, some 677 km (421 mi) of narrow-gauge single track, is a section of the old Hijaz railway (Damascus to Medina) for Muslim pilgrims. It runs from the Syrian border through 'Amman to Ma'an, where it connects with a spur line to the port of Al-'Aqabah. Reconstruction of the section from Ma'an to Medina in Sa'udi Arabia, which had been destroyed in World War I, was undertaken in the early 1970s as a joint venture by Jordan, Sa'udi Arabia, and Syria.

Al-'Aqabah, Jordan's only outlet to the sea, is situated at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba, an arm of the Red Sea. The port was initially developed after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, which cut off Arab Palestine and Transjordan from Mediterranean ports; substantial development did not begin until the 1960s. The port has been enlarged for general use, including terminals for loading potash and fertilizers. In 2002 Jordan had 7 merchant ships, totaling 41,206 GRT.

Jordan had 18 airports in 2001, 15 of which were paved. The major airport is the Queen Alia International Airport, about 30 km (19 mi) south of 'Amman, which was opened in the early 1980s. Aqaba Airport is the other international airport. The government-owned Alia-Royal Jordanian Airline operates domestic and international flights. In 2001, 1,178,100 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.

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