• Rome’s Fiumicino airport
    Rome’s Fiumicino airport

Could this be the future of air travel?

Italy is gearing up to offer “Covid-free” flights thanks to rapid testing.

The scheme makes use of 30-minute swab tests to ensure all travellers have tested negative for coronavirus before boarding their flight.

Initially being trialled at Rome’s Fiumicino airport on two daily Alitalia services to Milan, the initiative is the first in Europe to introduce rapid testing for departing passengers.

If successful, the pilot will be rolled out across other flights in an attempt to help boost the struggling aviation industry.

Fiumicino’s management company ADR is aiming to use 30-minute tests, administered free-of-charge to passengers, to improve customer confidence.

“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.”

Those who test positive will not be allowed to travel, but will undergo a traditional swab test to confirm the result and receive a voucher for a future flight.

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