Rome’s Fiumicino Airport is looking to expand quarantine-free travel trials to more destinations. Currently, travelers on select flights from New York and Atlanta to Rome can skip their quarantine through the program. With the program ending this month, Rome’s airport wants to see it extended and expanded.
Since December, Delta and Alitalia have been trialing a system of quarantine-free travel on flights from the New York JFK and Atlanta to Italy. The system includes a four-step testing method as follows:
- Passengers arrive with a COVID-19 negative test taken less than 72 hours before
- Rapid COVID-19 test before departure from the US/Italy
- Rapid COVID-19 test upon arrival in the US/Italy
- Another rapid COVID-19 test when leaving Italy
When passengers return negative results in the first three tests, they can skip their mandatory quarantine in Italy. The US will also require a 10-day self-quarantine for returning passengers. The program has yielded strong results, which is one reason why Rome Airport wants to see it extended.
The trial lays the foundation for possibly opening international travel corridors, or bubbles, in the upcoming summer. However, more large-scale trials are needed for the program to take shape and extend to leisure travel.
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Rome wants to see more
According to Reuters, Aeroporti di Roma, the operators of Fiumicino Airport, want to see the trials expanded beyond just New York and Atlanta. New destinations being proposed for the trail includes Japan and more North American destinations. This could mean more US cities and Canada could be included in the trial if the government permits.
Considering the emergence of new strains of COVID-19 and rising cases globally, the Italian government may not extend the trials. Currently, the trial results show five passengers out of 3,824 participating in the trial have tested positive until now.
In a statement, AdR CEO Marco Troncone said,
“We are working to obtain an extension of the trial phase beyond February 15 and to get more airlines, airports and institutions involved to promote effective, sustainable and homogeneous protocols across Europe”
Usually one of the busiest and most profitable routes in the world, COVID-19 has crippled transatlantic travel. To kickstart routes, airlines have been conducting several quarantine-free trials between the US and London, Amsterdam, and Rome. However, travel restrictions mean only a handful of passengers can currently fly between the US and Europe.
While countries have been skeptical of testing alone, a combination of vaccinations and testing could provide enough safety to reopen travel. The US, UK, and EU expect to have large parts of the population vaccinated by the end of the year, hence allowing travel to resume.
For now, the future of travel bubbles and quarantine-free travel is in doubt with rising cases and new strains. However, as vaccines rollout globally, we could see international travel resume in the coming months.
What do you think about Rome’s quarantine-free travel? Would you take such a flight? Let us know in the comments!