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Delta Expands Testing to Introduce Quarantine-Free Entry to Italy

Delta Expands Testing to Introduce Quarantine-Free Entry to Italy
Joe Cortez

Delta Air Lines continues to take aggressive measures to protect employees and passengers from COVID-19 by expanding testing capacity. Through a partnership with Rome’s major airport, flyers who test negative for the virus will soon be able to enter Italy without a quarantine period.

Delta Air Lines’ latest strategy to relaunch key services during the COVID-19 pandemic is based around COVID-19 testing for employees, and voluntary contact tracing for passengers. But their most important recent initiative may be the testing agreement with their home airport of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) and Rome-Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (FCO). In a memo to staff, Delta president Ed Bastian announced the partnership, along with expanded employee testing options.

Airport Partnership Opens Quarantine-Free Entry to Italy Starting Dec. 19, 2020

Under the agreement between the Atlanta-based carrier and the two airports, flyers holding a U.S. passport may be able to enter Italy without a quarantine period. To be eligible, flyers must take a PCR COVID-19 test up to 72 hours before departure, along with a second rapid test at ATL. Upon landing in Rome, flyers will be subjected to a third rapid test. To successfully enter, all three tests must be negative.

When returning to the United States, flyers must take one final rapid test at FCO before boarding their aircraft. All flyers returning from international travel will also be asked to join the airline’s voluntary contact tracing program, which will help the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in managing the spread of the novel Coronavirus.

Testing won’t just be limited to international travelers bound for Rome. In the internal memo, Bastian also told employees they would expand their internal capacity to offer weekly tests for all employees. Onsite rapid testing will be available to employees at major airports, while smaller airports and employees working from home will get access to testing kits.

“These efforts continue to be critical to your health and safety, as well as to the future of our business, given that many of our customers still have concerns about air travel,” Bastian wrote in the memo. “While we enjoyed an increase in travel volumes over the Thanksgiving holiday, in reality they were still less than half of what we normally fly during the holiday.”

Delta Hopes to Achieve Break-Even Point by Spring 2021

With the Thanksgiving holiday travel rush and news of a vaccine on the way, the airline noted that there is reason to be optimistic going into 2021. The airline reduced its December cash burn to between $12 and $14 million per day, down 50 percent from the third quarter of this year. Although Bastian called the current trends “volatile,” he hopes to get the airline back to a break-even point by the spring season of next year.

“While it will take months for a vaccine to be broadly distributed, it’s a clear sign of light at the end of the tunnel,” Bastian wrote in the memo. “Widespread vaccinations among our customers and our employees will be essential to Delta’s sustained recovery and the start of our rebound.”

View Comments (5)

5 Comments

  1. Global Adventurer

    December 4, 2020 at 4:37 am

    Does this new procedure overide current travel restrictions in italy for citizens of the US?

  2. SamirD

    December 4, 2020 at 9:24 am

    This is how airlines should have handled this from day one–test and fly. It might have just been temperatures initially with even more stringent distancing requirements and higher fares, but it would have kept people moving in a controlled way–especially with contact tracing.

  3. IkarosBOS

    December 5, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    Somebody probably got bribed in Italy
    What if during your flight they change rules?
    Half of my family (2 people) lives in rome, the other half (3 in the us)
    Thus far the us passport holders (2) have been prohibited from flying to italy and the 2 Italy passport holders have nit been allowed here
    This is the first Christmas apart in many years
    Should I believe it?

  4. Grog

    December 6, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    When publishing such articles, always provide the greater context within which any article falls. FT articles fail all too often to capture the big picture.

    In this article, it seems like anyone, for any reason, can now travel from the U.S. to Italy using this expanded testing procedure and that’s not true at all.

  5. DManzaluni

    December 7, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    seems to me that this article is the trillion dollar key to reviving international travel and the whole airline and tourist business? Why only Delta and why only Fiumicino?

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