Alitalia to run COVID-tested flights from Rome to New York from Dec. 8

FILE PHOTO: An Alitalia Airbus A319 comes in to land at Rome Fiumicino Airport, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, Rome, Italy, April 24, 2020. REUTERS/Alberto Lingria/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) – Alitalia will offer COVID-tested flights from Rome to New York starting from Dec. 8, the airline and the company running the Fiumicino airport, Aeroporti di Roma, said in a joint statement on Friday.

The announcement follows a health ministry order issued late last month and in force until Feb. 15 under which passengers flying between Rome and some U.S. destinations can be tested for the coronavirus 48 hours before departure and on arrival at the airport, to avoid the mandatory 14-day quarantine Italy imposes on incoming travellers.

In September, in an effort to resume domestic travel after the first wave of the epidemic, Alitalia experimented with COVID testing on some flights between Rome’s Fiumicino and Milan’s city airport Linate, Italy’s biggest hubs.

However, the government progressively restricted movement between regions to tackle a second wave of infections.

Fiumicino saw its passenger traffic plummet this year due to the coronavirus crisis and early in March it was forced to announce a partial closure.

“This experimental phase will aim to evaluate the effectiveness and functionality of the new travel mode, with the aim of making it more widely available in view of the upcoming Summer 2021 season,” the companies said in Friday’s statement.

(This story corrects date in paragraph 2 to Feb. 15)

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