Does anyone know whether there is a flight from Ambon to the Banda islands? If so, what does the schedule look like and any idea of costs?
Thanks a lot!
#1 oconnorra has been a member since 9/4/2012. Posts: 2
When I was in the Bandas last December there were no flights at all because NBA had had their license withdrawn after a crash on Sumatra but I just did a google for you and it seems they are flying Ambon-Bandaneira again now, 3 times a week.
NBA is a very small company using very old 20 seater planes and their flights often get get cancelled or changed at the last minute because of the weather or technical problems. Here is a photo of the plane
As you can see, the runway on Bandaneira is quite short and there's sea and nearby mountains at both ends. Take off and landing are quite tricky and the pilots have to rely on good eyesight and old fashioned manual controls so if the weather looks a bit dodgy they often don't risk it.
There's supposed to a 10kg luggage weight limit on these planes BTW. On my flight the plane was very overloaded. A couple of overweight Hungarian divers had all their dive gear with them and the cabin attendant spent the whole flight anxiously asking how much everyone and their luggage weighed and doing sums.... they were obviously a bit worried the plane wouldn't manage to stay in the air. It's possible that the 10kg weight limit is much more strictly enforced now after the Sumatra crash but even if it isn't it's not in your best interests to deliberately overload one of these flying songthaews.
NBA don't have a website (not sure if they even have a computer in fact, their Bandaneira office certainly didn't have one when I bought a ticket there a couple of years ago) so you have to buy tickets locally, in Ambon or Bandaneira. Because the planes have a limited number of seats and ferries are very infrequent the flights are usually fully booked out in advance. In 2010 an NBA flight cost about 350,000Rp but I don't know if it's the same price now. Your best bet is to try and contact a guesthouse in Bandaneira before you go to ask what the current flight/ferry situation is. It's always changing and what was true at the beginning of this month may not be true now.
Hi... I was there in august 2013, (a year ago) and there were flights being run by Merpati Air for 280,000rp each way. It was a bargain, but the flights were not reliable... eg last minute cancellations due to lack of numbers, etc.
However, earlier this year Merpati ran into some financial problems (unpaid fuel bills, etc) and eventually cancelled all routes I believe. So as far as I know, it's back to the Pelni ships unfortunately.
AFAIK there are currently no flights to Bandaneira. Merpati took over from NBA for a while but Merpati are now practically bankrupt and they stopped flying anywhere earlier this year.
So the only real option for getting to the Bandas right now is by Pelni ship. Schedules for the next 6 weeks or so can be found on the Pelni website. The ships are often hours (sometimes days) late so bear in mind that the departure times on that site are very approximate. Most tourists arrive in Bandaneira from Ambon but you can get there from Tual (Kei islands) on Pelni too.
Thanks all. Dive Bluemotion dive shop at Bandaneira claims that the flight will be operated by NBE this year. Apparently a shortage of planes has caused the flight service from Ambon to Banda to be delayed.