Delta launching quarantine-free COVID-19 trial flights to Italy

Delta Air Lines is preparing for an expected decree from Italy’s government that would allow its passengers on flights from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Aeroporto di Roma-Fiumicino quarantine-free entry into that country.

Those three entities have teamed up to oversee a Covid testing program that would complete that arrangement.

However, American citizens are, for the most part, not expected to be allowed to board the initial flights.

Related: Countries open to American citizens

Currently, they may not enter Italy unless they have been approved by the Italian government as taking part in essential travel. However, Italian citizens, citizens of other European Union countries and citizens of select other countries, including Canada, are allowed to freely enter Italy.

Not all who travel to Italy are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine, but a considerable percentage of them are, and those are the individuals who have the most to benefit from this program. Of course, Italy would be benefiting too as so many needing to quarantine has hurt its economy, both during those two weeks and as a result of those who decide to not travel to Italy, preferring to stay home or travel elsewhere.

Advisors from the Mayo Clinic would handle the testing protocols necessary for this program to be a success. Henry Ting, its chief value officer, believes that these flights will be extraordinarily safe, saying that when mask requirements, social distancing and environmental cleaning are combined with every passenger having had a recent negative Covid test and 60% of the airplane’s seats being taken, the odds of an infection occurring on board “should be nearly one in a million.”

Delta is also working with the Georgia Department of Public Health to create blueprints that would allow an increasing number of governments around the world to reopen in a safe manner.

Related: Vaccination to be required for international flights, says CEO of Qantas

Passengers have four options for testing in order to be approved to take this mode of transport to Rome. These include the taking of a PCR test within 72 hours of departure or the taking of a rapid test administered at either of the two airports.

A trial for this program will start on Dec. 19.

Delta is one of the world’s largest airlines. During non-pandemic times, it operates 5,000 flights on a daily basis while serving 300 destinations in 50 countries. Of its nine hubs, Atlanta is its busiest. Its two regular flights to Rome arrive from Atlanta and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.