Delta Air Lines, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Rome–Fiumicino International Airport have joined in a “first-of-its-kind” transatlantic COVID-19 testing program that will enable quarantine-free entry into Italy, in accordance with a decree expected to be issued soon by the government of Italy.
Starting December 19, Delta’s dedicated trial will test customers and crew on newly relaunched flights from Atlanta to Rome. The tests will exempt from quarantine on arrival in Italy all U.S. citizens permitted to travel to Italy for essential reasons, such as for work, health and education, as well as all European Union and Italian citizens.
To fly on Delta’s COVID-tested flights between Atlanta and Rome, customers will need to test negative for COVID-19 through:
- A COVID Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken up to 72 hours before departure
- A rapid test administered at the airport in Atlanta before boarding
- A rapid test on arrival in Rome-Fiumicino
- A rapid test at Rome-Fiumicino before departure to the United States
Customers also will be asked to provide information upon entry into the U.S. to support Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contact-tracing protocols.
“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 president – international and EVP – global sales, in a press statement.
Delta has engaged expert advisors from Mayo Clinic to review and assess the customer-testing protocols needed for Delta to execute a COVID-tested flight program. Delta has also worked with the Georgia Department of Public Health to develop a blueprint for governments to reopen important international travel markets.
Henry Ting, M.D., M.B.A., chief value officer, Mayo Clinic, in the announcement, said: “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 percent full—should be nearly one in a million.”
Rome-Fiumicino earlier this year implemented a successful intra-Italy COVID-tested flight trial with Delta’s Italian codeshare partner Alitalia and is the only airport in the world to have obtained the maximum five-star rating from Skytrax on its anti-COVID health protocols.
In addition, as part of the Delta CareStandard, the airline is blocking middle seats through March 30, 2021, ensuring rigorous mask compliance, electro-statically cleaning cabins before all flights and more.