Delta Air Lines announced its plans to re-launch passenger flights to Europe. Partnered together with Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) and Aeroporti di Roma, the managing company of both Rome-Fiumicino (FCO) and Rome-Ciampino (CIA) airport, the airline will once again carry passengers to mainland Europe.
Delta Air Lines plans to start flights on a dedicated trial basis from December 19, 2020. Passengers who wish to travel on these flights will have to take a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test 72 hours prior to departure, a rapid test prior to departure at ATL and a rapid test upon arrival in Fiumicino International Airport (FCO). Passengers going from Italy to the US will have to go through the same procedure.
If all tests are negative, travelers would be exempt from a mandatory quarantine upon arrival in Italy or in the US. However, the exemption is only valid for US, Italian and European Union (EU) citizens that are traveling for essential reasons, namely work, health and education.
Flights between the US and European Union countries have been closed since March 2020.
“Carefully designed COVID-19 testing protocols are the best path for resuming international travel safely and without quarantine until vaccinations are widely in place,” stated President of International and Executive Vice President of Global Sales at Delta Air Lines Steve Sear.
However, the plans are still preliminary. The Atlanta-based carrier will only be able to launch flights once the Italian government issues a decree, allowing international travel. Delta expects that will be done “soon”.
“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 United States government is also planning to lift the travel ban for EU countries in order to boost airlines’ ability to generate profit and survive the oncoming winter months.