Starting Dec. 8, Alitalia has started a trial program of COVID-tested flights between New York John F. Kennedy International Airport and Rome’s Fiumicino Airport. To board the flight passengers must produce a valid negative COVID-19 test conducted within the previous 48 hours.
On arrival in Italy, passengers undergo another coronavirus test, which, if negative, exempts them from the 14-day quarantine Italy imposes on incoming travelers. The quarantine exemption applies only to Italy, while restrictions on entry into the US by the US government remain in place.
The news comes as Alitalia’s SkyTeam partner Delta Air Lines is set to launch its own COVID-tested service to Rome from Atlanta’s Hartfield-Jackson International. Those flights are scheduled to being Dec. 19.
Alitalia had been among the first airlines to conduct trials of pre-flight COVID testing. In September, the airline began a program of in-airport pre-flight COVID-19 testing for select flights between Rome Fiumicino and Milan Linate. However Italian authorities have since restricted travel between regions to tackle a second wave of infections.
According to the statement, data from this trial phase will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of pre-flight testing on international routes with the goal of making it more widely available in the summer 2021 season.