Delta Air Lines, the Aeroporti di Roma and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International have partnered on a transatlantic Covid-19 testing program, which they say will enable quarantine-free entry into Italy, in accordance with a decree expected to be issued soon by the government of Italy.
“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 executive vice president – global sales. “Safety is our core promise – it’s at the center 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 says it has engaged advisors from Mayo Clinic, a specialist in serious and complex healthcare, to review and assess the customer-testing protocols needed for Delta to execute its flight program.
“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, MD, MBA, chief value officer, Mayo Clinic.
Delta notes it 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 in mid-December, Delta’s trial will test customers on flights from Atlanta to Rome. The tests will be exempt from quarantine on arrival in Italy for all US 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, passengers will need to test negative no less than four times, first from a PCR test taken 72 hours before flying, then from three rapid tests, at Atlanta and on arrival and departure from Rome.