Bulgaria - Transportation

The Bulgarian Railway Company (BDZ) oversees Bulgaria's railway system. Railroads are still the basic means of freight transportation in Bulgaria. Of the 4,292 km (2,667 mi) of railroad lines in use in 2002 about 94% were standard gauge.

In 2002, roadways extended for 37,288 km (23,171 mi), of which 33,786 km (20,995 mi) were paved, including 324 km (201 mi) of expressways. Road transportation has grown steadily in recent years. Bulgaria has many highway projects underway, including portions of the Trans-European Motorway (TEM), a route connecting Budapest with Athens via Vidin and Sofia and with Istanbul via eastern Bulgaria.

Water transportation is also significant. As of 2002, Bulgaria's maritime fleet was comprised of 77 ships with a total capacity of 881,758 GRT, as compared with 97,800 GRT in 1961. The major seaports are Burgas and Varna; principal river ports are Ruse, Lom, and Vidin.

In 2001 there were 215 airports, 128 of which had paved runways. Sofia's Vrazhdebna Airport is the major air center, but there are also international airports at Varna and Burgas, as well as seven domestic airports. Initially a joint Soviet-Bulgarian concern, Bulgarian Airlines (BALKAN) passed into Bulgarian hands in 1954. Civilian airlines in Bulgaria carried 234,000 passengers on scheduled domestic and international airline flights in 2001.

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