Italy holidays: Rome airport to offer ‘COVID-free’ flights as new rapid testing launched

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Rome airport in Italy is testing departing passengers for coronavirus. The quick 30-minute swab tests will ensure that all travellers are COVID-free before boarding. The initiative at Rome’s Fiumicino airport is currently just being trialled out on two of seven daily Alitalia services to Milan.

Fiumicino Airport already offers rapid testing to passengers arriving from Greece, Spain, Malta and Croatia.

However, it is the first European airport to test departing passengers.

If the trial is successful then the scheme will be rolled out across other flights.

It is hoped this will give the struggling aviation industry the boost it needs.

The 30-minute tests will be administered free-of-charge to passengers to improve customer confidence, said Fiumicino’s management company ADR.

“On those flights you know the person next to you is negative,” Marco Troncone, ADR chief executive, told The Times.

“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 negative will be able to board without a hitch.

However, they will still have to wear face masks on the flight as a precaution.

Those who test positive for coronavirus will not be allowed to travel.

They will be given a traditional swab test to confirm the result and receive a voucher for a future flight.

Different swab tests vary in accuracy; false negatives can range from two to 37 percent.

In further news, Fiumicino Airport has become the first airport in the world to earn “the COVID-19 5-Star Airport Rating” from Skytrax, an international airport industry ratings body.

Skytrax, known for its annual rankings of the world’s best airports, came up with the designation for airport hygiene in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

Despite being the busiest airport in Italy, the airport scored points for having easy-to-read signage in multiple languages, strict enforcement of mask-wearing, visibly present cleaning staff and efficiency thanks to the consolidation of all incoming and outgoing flights to a single terminal for easier tracking.

Director of ENIT (The Italian Government Tourist Board), Maria Elena Rossi said: “Health and safety measures remain a key priority for visitors coming to Italy with the aim to create a safe and seamless travelling experience from the moment they step on the plane.

“We are delighted that Italy’s busiest airport and central hub has been recognised for its consistency in delivering a high standard of COVID-19 protocols that enable a safe environment for all customers and staff.

“With robust procedures in place and a commitment to ensure travellers stay safe during their visit, we welcome tourists to explore Rome this Autumn and winter in a safe environment.”

Italy remains on the UK’s travel corridor for now.

However, if you are travelling to Sardinia, you are required to demonstrate that you have received a negative COVID test in the last 48 hours or agree to take one when you arrive. You also need to register your trip in advance.

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