Delta Air Lines, the Aeroporti di Roma and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport have joined forces for a transatlantic Covid-19 testing program.
It is hoped the scheme will enable quarantine-free entry into Italy, in accordance with a decree expected to be issued soon by the government.
“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.
“Safety is our core promise – it’s at the centre of this pioneering testing effort and it’s the foundation of our standards for cleanliness and hygiene to help customers feel confident when they fly Delta.”
Delta has engaged expert advisors from Mayo Clinic, a global leader in serious and complex healthcare, to review and assess the customer-testing protocols needed for Delta to execute a Covid-tested flight program.
“Based on the modelling 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 per cent full – should be nearly one in a million,” said Henry Ting, chief value officer at the Mayo Clinic.
Delta has also worked closely with the Georgia department of public health to develop a blueprint for governments to reopen important international travel markets.
“The state of Georgia and the Italian government have demonstrated leadership in testing protocols and practices that can safely reopen international travel without quarantine requirements,” Sear added.
Starting on December 19th, a dedicated trial will test customers and crew on newly relaunched flights from Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Rome-Fiumicino International Airport.
The tests will exempt from quarantine on arrival in Italy all United States 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.