Banda Bound

Last updated: September 17, 2015

The latest information on travel to the Banda Islands.


Susi Air flights between Ambon and Banda commenced in early February; they operate 2-3 days per week: Monday, Wednesday and sometimes Friday. The flight to Banda departs Ambon at 07:00. Tickets can be purchased 10-30 days in advance, but it is a small plane with 10 seats. Please note: it is very difficult to get flight tickets. Also, these flights seem to be less reliable and cancellations are a real possibility; it is recommended you travel by boat – see below for the schedule – or combine boats and flights via Tual or Saumlaki to avoid disappointment.

Pelni operates boats on this route, an average of 2-3 times per month. The Pelni schedule is known up to six weeks in advance.

Upcoming boats, Ambon to Banda:

27 September

Upcoming boats, Banda to Ambon:

02 October

for the period to 31 October 2015

Both flights and boats to Banda use paper tickets, so our Pick Me Up greeter for Ambon would buy the tickets and hand-deliver them to you at either Ambon Airport (when you arrive) or at your Ambon hotel.

Flight Enquiry | Boat Enquiry

Snorkelling around the Banda Islands is famous, and rightly considered a highlight of Indonesia.

Classic Bandaneira PortraitThe only problem: getting there.

Centuries ago, European ships travelled for months to the Banda Islands, to trade for the lucrative spice, nutmeg. The promise of untold riches drew many, who would die on the journey due to malnutrition (scurvy) and disease.

These days, it is not quite that difficult. Now that tourist visas (a.k.a. visa on arrival) can be extended to 60 days, the biggest issue for planning a trip to the Banda Islands is frequency and reliability.

Pelni ships travel from Ambon to Banda once or twice a month, and the schedule is available on its website up to just six weeks in advance.

Flights CancelledFlights from Ambon to Bandaneira in the past have been unreliable, even by Indonesian standards.

However, some intrepid travellers have reported that lately the current service by local airline Nusantara Buana Air (or NBA) is more dependable. Here is the schedule:

Route Days Of Operation Departure Time
Ambon to Bandaneira Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays 07:00
Bandaneira to Ambon Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays 09:00

NBA uses CASA C-212 aircraft and has a 10kg baggage allowance. If you’re bringing dive gear, excess baggage is Rp10 000 (a little over $US1) per kg.

Please note that no flight from Jakarta to Ambon arrives early enough to allow passengers to transit Ambon and head directly to Bandaneira the same day; you will need to stay one night at a hotel in Ambon. (You may also want to stow some luggage there to be under 10kg for the flight). Below are some of the more well-known and comfortable choices:

View Ambon Airport, Port and Hotels in a larger map
Ambon Airport and Ambon City are on opposite sides
of the horseshoe-shaped Ambon Bay.

Still unsure? Here is some NBA passenger feedback:

Travelled to the Banda Islands in late October and thought we might have to resort to ferries if the plane didn’t operate. In fact the flight, both there and back a month later, ran perfectly to time and we had no problems at all.
Banda Islands from airThe crew were efficient, the flight perfectly comfortable and the fact that it is a small propellor plane meant that we cruised at the perfect height for taking some really good photos of The Bandas (see example above).

Margy, UK

The flight was smooth and just a little noisy. The pilot came around and shook everyone’s hand before take-off, which was a nice touch.

Sarah, USA

If you are interested in booking a flight to Bandaneira, please fill in an enquiry form.

Please note that NBA flight tickets from Bandaneira to Ambon can only be purchased in Bandaneira; the best time to do that would be upon arrival at Bandaneira Airprt. If you are worried about being stranded, check the Pelni ship schedule or ask your hotel in Bandaneira for assistance.

37 Comments on “Banda Bound”

  1. avatar Luko says:

    I was one of the pissed off tourists who was hoping to spend Xmas diving in Banda and who got surprized after NBA decision to suspend all flights on the Ambon-Bandaneira route from dec.23th. 2012

    From I have heard it is more serious than the usual NBA january flight gap, which is always resuming end of february as it is generally due to a delay on the subsidy agreement with the regional govt.
    It came to my ears NBA was almost bankrupt because they had to refund a hefty amount of advance subsidies. Meanwhile another carrier might be interested for plying the route, providing the fares will be increased.

    What are the news for Ambon-Bandaneira flights lately? Any hope for March/April?

  2. avatar Chris says:

    Hi Luko,

    Thanks for the update.

    It appears NBA flights are now suspended until at least February, and possibly indefinitely; see related post on Lonely Planet ThornTree.

  3. avatar Chris says:

    A new post on Thorn Tree says that Merpati is now flying from Ambon to Banda at 7am on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday.

    Our “man on the ground” (and Pick Me Up greeter) in Ambon has confirmed it is true.

  4. avatar HK Chong says:

    Nothing on the Merpati website indicated that they are servicing the Ambon – Banda Naira routing. NBA has a website but no online booking facility and I cannot see from their website if they have resumed flights to Banda Naira.

    Anybody out there with more recent updates…or is Pelni the only way to go.

  5. avatar Chris says:

    Dear HK Chong,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I agree that there is no mention on the Merpati website. I also asked about the flight at the Merpati office here, and they said there was nothing on their system for this route.

    However, there may be a reason for this. Routes that are considering necessary for economic/social development, a.k.a. “pioneer routes”, receive government subsidies and cannot be booked like other routes. It may be that these tickets can only be booked on site, in Ambon or Bandaneira, and only a relatively short time in advance (up to 1 month).

    Fortunately, we have a partner travel agent in Ambon who can assist our clients.

    If you are interested in booking a flight to Bandaneira, please fill in an enquiry form.

  6. avatar HK Chong says:

    Hello there everybody,

    Can someone please advise me of the status of the airline/s that is flying between Ambon and Banda and of the flight days and times (return flights as well) and the cost and luggage allowance and excess luggage charges.


    HK Chong

  7. avatar Johny says:

    I just chek the flight schedule to Banda for U Mr HK Chong .
    Merpati airlines fly to Banda Neira but not regular ,mostly depend on wheater condition.
    Just about 10 kgs baggage allowed> You can use Ship as a choice>>
    Wheater is good now>>

  8. avatar Fr RO says:

    Hello folks,

    I’m planning to visit Banda Islands in early february.
    Can somebody inform me the status of tle flights between Ambon and Banda? And what will be the weather like at this period? I’ve read that it should me the rainy season… Is the rain strong and during the whole day?

    Thanks a lot for your help!

  9. avatar Chris says:

    Dear Fr RO,

    Can somebody inform me the status of tle flights between Ambon and Banda?

    Please re-read the first sentence:

    …there are currently no regular scheduled flights operating between Ambon and Banda…

    And what will be the weather like at this period?

    In Ambon, it is the opposite – the dry season now, the wet season in April to September.

    Ambon weather forecast and monthly averages

  10. avatar Marvin Kelly says:

    Dear Sir or Madam,
    We are two persons who will be traveling in Indonesia December 12–30. We can be flexible as to dates and would like to spend 4 days or so on the Banda Islands. Can you advise if getting to Banda is possible any time during our travel to Indonesia? And details re same.
    Thank you!
    Marvin Kelly

  11. avatar Chris says:

    Dear Marvin Kelly,

    Sorry, we cannot answer your question until November. The Pelni schedule is known up to six weeks in advance.

  12. avatar Bapak SrigalaPutih says:

    may I ask how is the status of the flight schedule now for the rest of 2014 and how much is a one-way-trip ?

  13. avatar Chris says:

    The first paragraph answers your question. We regularly update this post with the latest boat schedule and there is no change to the flight schedule: 2 days/week, Mondays and Thursdays.

    If would like a quote, please send an enquiry

  14. avatar tony giles says:

    Dear Chris.

    I am planning to visit Banda Islands in March 2015. Could you give me an idea of the cost of a flight from Ambon to Bandanaira please, one way and return please.

    Kind regards, Tony

  15. avatar Chris says:

    Hi Tony,

    If would like a quote, please make an enquiry. The form asks some small but important questions.

  16. avatar Mei says:

    Dear Christ,
    I would like to ask you about the flight schedule from Ambon to Bandaneira and from Bandaneira back to Ambon again.
    As I am planning my holiday to go there on between 02/01/2015-14/01/2015.
    Please help me to give me some information about the updated flight schedule for January 2015 and how much it costs per person?
    Thank you :-)

  17. avatar Chris says:

    Dear Mei,

    The first paragraph of this post contains all that I know about the flight schedule. If you would like a quote, please send an enquiry.

  18. avatar Mei says:

    Dear Christ,
    Thank you for your nice reply.
    I have sent 2 times the enquiry.
    I hope you can send me the information soon because I need to plan my holiday and also to make sure the flight from Jakarta to Ambon.
    Thank you very much for your kind help, Christ!
    Best regards,

  19. avatar Chris says:

    Dear Mei,

    I will reply to your enquiry shortly.

  20. avatar Rainer says:

    I jus got back from Banda last November 2014 and planning to go again on mid January until I heard about this discomforting news on Aviastar. I called the Aviastar officiant in Ambon directly and they said people have to wait until early (or mid January) whether Aviastar will win the business deal between them and Susi Air. But if you would like to reach Banda in a hurry, go with Pelni (depart afternoon, arrival next morning) with 1st class. Good luck to all!

  21. avatar Dinos Malliaris says:

    We are planning our trip from Ambon to Banda for about end of January.
    Who is on the job now,please,Aviastar or Nba.
    Is it possible for you, under this situation,to book tickets for two people.
    Thank you in advance

  22. avatar Chris says:

    Hi Dinos,

    Aviastar flights between Ambon and Banda are suspended indefinitely, starting 25 December 2014. We will advise if/when they have recommenced. If you wish to travel to/from Banda, it is recommended you travel by boat – see below for the schedule – or combine boats and flights via Tual or Saumlaki.

    You can take a boat on 1 February from Ambon or on 21 January from Tual. We can book boat tickets, if you send an enquiry.

  23. avatar Dinos Malliaris says:

    Hi Chris
    Let’s think about it.
    Please send me your e-mail address,so I can give you more details.
    Thank you

  24. avatar Chris says:

    Hi Dinos,

    Sorry, you need to send an enquiry first, then I will reply with an email.

  25. avatar Omar says:

    Hi there,
    we are considering to travel to Banda but unfortunately we are on a tight schedule and not sure if our dates matches with the offer of boats/flights. If we can be in Ambon by the 16th of Febraury with a ticket to fly out from Ambon on March 1st is there any way we can make it?

    Thank you for your reply

  26. avatar Klemen says:

    There is no flight every other friday, the same days that Pelni arrives from Tual.

    Greetings from BandaNeira!

  27. avatar Janet says:

    What’s the flight status to fly out to the Banda islands in April ?

  28. avatar Chris says:

    Hi Janet,

    Flights will operate on April 20, 22, 24, 27, 29.

  29. avatar Koes says:

    I visited Banda on early May 2015
    Here it’s the update for flight / very schedule
    There is a ship ( not PELNI) that depart from Ambon twice a week, the ship name Bahari 2B

    Depart from port TULEHU – Ambon every Friday and monday, 09.00 AM
    Banda – Ambon : Every Saturday & Tuesday 09.00 AM
    ( this ship may not operate during high tide season , July – September
    Go to port TULEHU and get the ticket there

    Flight : Susi Air
    Schedule every Monday, Wednesday and Friday ( 07.00 AM),
    contact :
    Susi Air Ambon : +62 811 212 7147
    Susi Air Banda : +62 813 4301 9419

  30. avatar slaw says:

    We fly to Ambon on 11 July early in the morning. Departing from Ambon we have 19 of July. We would like to visit Banda . How to get there and back in that time?
    PELNI – 5 and July 19 :-(

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