Italy is set to offer free-of-charge, and super quick, COVID-19 tests for passengers about to board planes at airports, reportedly ensuring ‘COVID-free’ flights.
With these tests, which take just 30 minutes, passengers can reportedly fly with complete peace of mind, with the knowledge that their fellow travellers are not, and will not be, infected.
The 30-minute tests were initially trialled at the Fiumicino airport in Rome, prior to two daily Alitalia services to Milan, with the initiative being the first in Europe to implement speedy testing for departing passengers.
Fiumicino Airport already offers the free tests for all arrivals from Spain, Greece, Malta and Croatia, and now plans to extend the scheme for all departing travellers, with a trial flight to Milan now in the works.
Tests are conducted by Fiumicino Airport’s management company ADR, with the hope of boosting the airline industry during what has proven to be a difficult time.
ADR chief executive, Marco Troncone, told The Times:
On those flights you know the person next to you is negative. The rapid tests are now based on a nasal swab but saliva tests are coming in the future, making it as easy as going through the x-ray.
Passengers who test positive will not be permitted to travel, but will undergo a swab test to confirm the results, and will also receive vouchers for future flights. They may also have to quarantine in the city.
Those who test negative will need to wear masks for the duration of the flight as a precautionary measure. It’s reported that different swab tests vary in accuracy, with false negatives ranging from 2% to 37%.
Going forward, Fiumicino Airport hopes to bring about agreements with other popular travel destinations that can implement similar testing-on-departure schemes, with New York said to be the next key target.
People feel uncomfortable flying for seven hours due to coronavirus and anyone flying to Italy from the US must quarantine for 14 days, but we think that if the flight is 100 per cent Covid-free, there would be no need for quarantine.
The airport is reportedly also now in talks with Emirates, Aeroflot and Lufthansa about the introduction of testing.
Fiumicino Airport has recently been awarded the first five star rating for COVID-19 safety procedures, with air transport rating agency Skytrax praising the airport for having effective signage and information systems.
The airport was also praised for its in-house Bio-Safety Team of 40 staff, who facilitate social distancing measures and ensure that people comply with face covering rules in high movement areas.
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Topics: News, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Flights, Italy, testing