Delta Air Lines and Alitalia are to launch “quarantine free” flights between the US and Italy, opening up the first travel corridor linking the US and Europe since countries introduced isolation rules during the pandemic.
The US airline said that from next month passengers travelling on select flights from Atlanta to Rome would not have to self-isolate if they test negative for Covid-19 three times on their journey.
Travellers will be asked to take a gold-standard PCR test 72 hours before departure, and then rapid tests at the airport in Atlanta before boarding and again on arrival in Italy.
The aviation industry is pushing regulators around the world to allow pre-departure testing to replace the current blanket quarantine restrictions in place across most countries that have stifled demand for travel.
Several airlines have launched flights between the US and Europe that test passengers as they travel, but Delta and Alitalia’s flights to Rome are the first that will allow travellers who have been tested to skip quarantine.
Aviation executives in the UK have been pushing for an air corridor between London and New York to help restart business travel, but Delta’s chief executive Ed Bastian told the Financial Times last week that it would be easier to open up a corridor with “just about any” other European capital.