American carrier Delta Air Lines has announced plans to launch the first ‘quarantine-free’ flights from the US to Europe amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The carrier has partnered with Aeroporti di Roma and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for the first-of-its-kind transatlantic Covid-19 testing programme.

The Italian Government is expected to make an announcement that enables quarantine-free entry into the country under the testing programme.

Delta international president and global sales executive vice-president Steve Sear said: “Carefully designed Covid-19 testing protocols are the best path for resuming international travel safely and without quarantine until vaccinations are widely in place.

“Safety is our core promise – it’s at the centre of this pioneering testing effort and it’s the foundation of our standards for cleanliness and hygiene to help customers feel confident when they fly Delta.”

As part of the programme, Delta has hired healthcare provider Mayo Clinic advisers to evaluate customer-testing protocols required to implement the programme.

Delta will start testing customers and crew on newly relaunched flights from Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Rome-Fiumicino International Airport from 19 December.

All US citizens travelling to Italy for essential reasons such as for work, health and education will be exempted from quarantine on arrival in Italy.

The Georgia Department of Public Health has also helped the carrier in developing a blueprint for governments to reopen important international travel markets.

Sear added: “The State of Georgia and the Italian government have demonstrated leadership in testing protocols and practices that can safely reopen international travel without quarantine requirements.”

Delta pilots recently agreed to accept a reduction in pay to avoid furloughs until 2022.