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Delta Air Lines and trans-Atlantic partner KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will launch COVID-tested flights from Atlanta to Amsterdam beginning December 15.
Developed with assistance from the Dutch government, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the new comprehensive COVID-19 testing program will allow eligible travelers to be exempt from 10-day quarantine after receiving a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test result upon landing in the Netherlands.
The flights will operate four times per week from Atlanta to Amsterdam, with each carrier operating two frequencies. The COVID-tested flights will initially run for three weeks but could be expanded to other markets if successful.
To qualify for the flights, travelers will need to take a COVID-19 PCR test five days before arrival in Amsterdam; take a rapid antigen test prior to boarding in Atlanta and take another PCR test upon arrival in Amsterdam. Customers can select the new COVID-tested flights when they purchase their tickets online.
"This is a very important and great step forward. Until an approved working vaccine is available worldwide, this testing program represents the first step towards the international travel industry's recovery," KLM Royal Dutch Airlines President and CEO Pieter Elbers said in a statement. "I am grateful for the constructive collaboration with our partners Delta Air Lines and the Schiphol Group and to have the support of the Dutch government to make this unique COVID-free travel corridor trial possible."
"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," he added. "This is fundamental to restore passengers' and governments' confidence in air travel."
"Creating COVID-free travel corridors, in addition to the multiple layers of safety and hygiene measures we have implemented through the Delta CareStandard, will provide customers- and authorities-greater confidence that they can stay healthy when flying," added Steve Sear, Delta President, International and Executive Vice President, Global Sales. "Delta has worked with our partners and health authorities to reopen the skies safely and resume international air travel until a vaccine is in place removing the requirement of quarantine."
Delta will also become the first U.S. carrier with an international COVID-19 contact tracing program later this month.
A Maryland native and wanderer who has lived across the U.S. from North Carolina to SoCal, Patrick Clarke graduated from Towson...
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