Alitalia to begin coronavirus-tested flights between Rome, Milan

Italian airline Alitalia was set on Wednesday to fly its first flights from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport reserved for passengers who have tested negative for coronavirus.

In a pilot project which the airline hopes will attract more passengers, Alitalia is scheduled to operate two flights from Rome to Milan’s Linate Airport that it has billed as “Covid-tested”.

Initially, two flights will depart Rome at 13:30 and 17:30 (1130, 1530 GMT), but could be rolled out more widely, even internationally, the airline said.

Passengers will either take a nasal swab test on the day of departure at a health centre located at Fiumicino Airport, or present to health authorities at the airport negative test results from that same rapid antigen test in the past 72 hours.

A drive-through testing facility is also located at a car park near the airport. 

The antigen tests, which detect the presence of proteins found in the virus, take 30 minutes to produce a result, Alitalia said.  

“The initiative therefore aims to start the path to the recovery of air traffic… and, more generally, to strengthen travellers’ confidence in flying,” Alitalia wrote in a statement last week.

Any passengers who test positive will not be allowed to board, and will have to follow quarantine procedures.