by Jessica Montevago / / Aeroporti di Roma. Photo: ADR
Delta Airlines and Alitalia will soon begin a trial of flights from the U.S. to Italy that won’t require passengers to quarantine upon arrival.
The carriers will begin operating the quarantine-free flights between Aeroporti di Roma and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport beginning Dec. 19.
The agreement with airports and governments eliminates quarantine requirements on COVID-tested flights connecting Atlanta and Rome.
Delta and Alitalia passengers traveling between Atlanta and Rome will be required to take a PCR COVID-19 test 72 hours before departure, followed by one rapid test at the airport in Atlanta before boarding. Upon arrival in Italy, another rapid test will be administered, and the same rapid test will be given at Rome-Fiumicino before departure back to Atlanta.
Passengers will also be required to provide information upon entry into the US to support CDC contact-tracing protocols.
Aeroporti di Roma said that the flights next month are part of a pilot phase aimed at assessing the effectiveness and functionality of the new travel procedures, with the aim of making it more widely available in view of the upcoming Summer 2021 season.
The negative tests will exempt passengers from a 14-day quarantine on arrival in Italy for all U.S. citizens permitted to travel to Italy for essential reasons, such as for work, health and education that Italy has otherwise imposed on American travelers, as well as all European Union and Italian citizens.
“Carefully designed Covid-19 testing protocols are the best path for resuming international travel safely and without quarantine until vaccinations are widely in place,” said Steve Sear, Delta’s international president and executive vice president of global sales.
Delta said it has consulted with Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit health center, to review the testing protocols required to make flights as safe as possible.
“Based on the modeling we have conducted, when testing protocols are combined with multiple layers of protection, including mask requirements, proper social distancing and environmental cleaning, we can predict that the risk of COVID-19 infection – on a flight that is 60% full – should be nearly one in a million,” said Henry Ting, M.D., M.B.A., Chief Value Officer, Mayo Clinic.
Delta aimed to establish a New York-London travel corridor, but CEO Ed Bastian said efforts were "complicated" due to coronavirus restrictions.
“I think you will find on the continent several countries that are more open,” Bastian told the Financial Times, adding, “I think New York-London is complicated.”
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