Delta Air Lines has announced plans to launch a transatlantic program that will eliminate the quarantine requirement on specific COVID-19-tested flights between the US and Italy. The dedicated trial program will begin on 19 December on newly-relaunched flights between Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Rome-Fiumicino International Airport.

The trial will test crew and passengers, who include 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. 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 to execute the COVID-tested flight program.

A cabin crew member greeting a passenger on a Delta flight
The trial will test crew and passengers permitted to travel to Italy © Delta Air Lines

To fly on Delta’s COVID-tested flights between Atlanta and Rome, customers will need to test negatively for the virus through a PCR test taken up to 72 hours before departure, a rapid test administered at the airport in Atlanta before boarding and a rapid test on arrival in Rome. Returning citizens must take a rapid test at Rome-Fiumicino before departure to the US, which at present doesn't permit foreign nationals from flying in from the EU.

Customers will also be asked to provide information upon entry into the US to support CDC contact-tracing protocols. “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,” says Henry Ting, chief value officer at Mayo Clinic.

Delta also plans to continue to block the middle seats in passenger cabins to ensure social distancing. Further information is available from its website here.

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