ATLANTA — Delta Air Lines has joined with two other companies to create a coronavirus testing program that will allow travelers to enter Italy without having to quarantine.
The major airline partnered with the Aeroporti di Roma and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to create the new trans-Atlantic testing initiative.
“Carefully designed COVID-19 testing protocols are the best path for resuming international travel safely and without quarantine until vaccinations are widely in place,” Steve Sear, Delta President – International and Executive Vice President - Global Sales said in a release on Thanksgiving Day.
The new program is set to be in line with an official order expected to be issued by the Italian government.
“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,” Sear stated.
The airline company said they've been working with the Mayo Clinic, a global healthcare competitor, to assess and ensure the safety of the newly formed flight initiative.
“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,” Henry Ting, M.D., M.B.A., Chief Value Officer, of the Mayo Clinic explained.
Delta mentioned that they are also working with the Georgia Department of Public Health in hopes that they will create a foundation 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.
The trial for this new quarantine-free initiative will begin on Dec. 19. They plan to test passengers and the airline crew on flights headed to Rome-Fiumicino International Airport.
"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," the release detailed.
Anyone interested in being a part of this trial must test negative for the virus through one of the following avenues:
- 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
Passengers will also be asked to provide CDC style contact-tracing information when they enter the U.S.