26 November 2020 – Delta Air Lines, Aeroporti di Roma and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport have joined a first-of-its-kind, trans-Atlantic COVID-19 testing program to allow quarantine-free entry into Italy, in accordance with a decree expected to be issued shortly by the Italian Government.
“Carefully designed COVID-19 testing protocols are the best path for resuming international travel safely and without quarantine until vaccinations are widely in place,” said Steve Sear, Delta President – International and Executive Vice President – Global Sales. “Safety is our core promise – it’s at the centre 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.”
Delta has hired expert advisors from Mayo Clinic, a global leader in serious and complex healthcare, to review and evaluate the customer testing protocols needed for Delta to carry out a COVID-tested flight program.
“Based on the modelling 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 per cent full – should be nearly one in a million,” said Henry Ting, M.D., M.B.A., Chief Value Officer, Mayo Clinic.
Delta has also collaborated closely with the Georgia Ministry of Public Health to develop a blueprint for policymakers to reopen vital international travel markets. Delta has also collaborated closely with the Georgia Ministry of Public Health to develop a blueprint for policymakers to reopen vital international travel markets.
Starting on December 19, Delta’s dedicated trial would test customers and crew on newly unveiled flights from Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Rome–Fiumicino International Airport. The tests will exempt all U.S. citizens allowed to travel to Italy for essential reasons, such as work, health and education, as well as all European Union and Italian citizens from quarantine upon arrival in Italy.
In order to fly on Delta’s COVID-tested flights between Atlanta and Rome, customers will need to test COVID-19 negatively through:
- COVID Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken up to 72 hours prior to departure.
- Rapid test carried out at the airport in Atlanta before boarding
- A fast test on arrival in Rome-Fiumicino
- A rapid test in Rome-Fiumicino before departure to the United States
Customers will also be asked to provide information on accessing the U.S. to support CDC contact-tracing protocols.
Earlier this year, Aeroporti di Roma carried out a successful intra-Italy COVID-tested flight test with Delta’s Italian code-share partner Alitalia and is the first airport in the world to receive a full five-star rating from Skytrax on its anti-COVID health protocols. Rome – Fiumicino Airport handles more than 40 million passengers a year and Airports Council International has been named Europe’s Best Gateway Airport for the third year in a row.
Delta’s No. 1 concern is the health and welfare of consumers and workers. Customers on Delta’s COVID-tested flights will also benefit from the more than 100 protection and cleanliness measures that the airline has introduced during its service based on specialist perspectives from partnerships with Mayo Clinic, Purell, Emory University and Lysol. As part of the Delta CareStandard, the carrier is blocking middle seats until 30 March 2021, ensuring strict mask enforcement, electrically washing cabins before all flights and more.
Latest analysis reveals how well these interventions operate. In one of the most detailed studies to date, Harvard scientists concluded last month that several levels of protection used during air travel, such as frequent air ventilation and compulsory wearing of masks, make aircraft as safe or safer than other everyday tasks such as going to a grocery store or dining out.
Delta Air Lines is the U.S. global airline leader in safety, innovation, reliability and customer experience. Powered by our employees around the world, Delta has for a decade led the airline industry in operational excellence while building on our reputation for award-winning customer service. Today, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our customers and employees.
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