Delta Air Lines and KLM on Dec. 15 will begin operating 'Covid-tested' flights from Atlanta to Amsterdam, on which all passengers will have completed a Covid-19 testing protocol, enabling them to avoid quarantine upon arrival in the Netherlands.
The program, open only to certain passengers, is similar to one Delta and Alitalia this week announced for service between the United States and Italy.
For the Delta and KLM service, passengers can choose to take a Polymerase Chain Reaction Covid-19 test five days before arriving in Amsterdam, then isolating until the flight. Before boarding the flight at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, passengers would take a rapid antigen test. If both are negative, passengers may board, then take a second PCR test upon arrival at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
If that final test also is negative, arriving passengers will not have to quarantine in the Netherlands. Typically, the Dutch government requires 10 days of quarantine upon arrival.
According to the carriers, the program is open to "all citizens permitted to travel to the Netherlands for essential reasons, such as for certain specified work, health and education reasons."
According to Delta, the Covid-tested Atlanta-Amsterdam flights initially will operate four times weekly, two each operated by Delta and KLM. The program will be available for three weeks and, if successful, the carriers said they "hope to extend the program to other markets."
Standard Atlanta-Amsterdam service will remain available for travelers who choose not to take the testing protocol, according to Delta, and they will be required to quarantine upon arrival in the Netherlands.
"All stakeholders need to work together on a systematic approach to rapid testing and build these tests into the passenger experience, so quarantine measures can be lifted as quickly as possible," KLM president and CEO Pieter Elbers said in a statement.
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