Alitalia to begin coronavirus-tested flights between Rome, Milan

©Agence France-Presse

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.