First passengers take Covid-tested flights from US to Milan

Travellers from New York arrived in Italy's Milan Malpensa airport on the route's first Covid-tested and "quarantine-free" flight on Saturday.

First passengers take Covid-tested flights from US to Milan
A passenger looks on at Malpensa Airport in Milan, on 3 April 2021 after disembarking from the first "Covid-tested" and "quarantine-free" flight from New York to northern Italy. (Photo by Piero Cruciatti / AFP)

The biggest airport in northern Italy has now begun its flight schedule of Covid-tested flights from the United States, making passengers exempt from the 14 days of self-isolation normally required.

“It is the first ever flight from New York since the end of March 2020. It took a year to restart this crucial connection for people and the economy,” said Armando Brunini, CEO of SEA Milan Airports, in a press conference.

“We hope that restrictions will be loosened as soon as possible: if they are safe flights, we must allow their use also for those who fly for tourism,” he added.

READ ALSO: How soon can Italy hope to restart tourism this summer?

Armando Brunini, CEO of SEA Milan Airports, talks to journalists at Malpensa Airport in Milan on April 3rd 2021, after the first “Covid-tested” and “quarantine-free” flight landed from New York to northern Italy. Passengers were tested by healthcare workers for Covid-19 upon disembarking. (Photo by Piero Cruciatti / AFP)

Around 100 people arrived from the Big Apple following the Italian Health Ministry’s decision to permit travellers to enter Italy on these Covid-tested services.

Passengers have already been taking such special quarantine-free flights to Rome Fiumicino airport. But the Ministry extended the scheme to Italy’s second-largest airport with a date set until at least the end of June 2021, as stated in a circular issued on March 10th.

To be permitted on the flight, passengers must test negative in a rapid antigen test for coronavirus no more than 48 hours before boarding and they must get tested again immediately on arrival.

An airport hostess waits to assist passengers going through a test area to undergo a rapid antigen swab test for Covid-19 at Malpensa Airport in Milan on April 3rd 2021, after disembarking from the first “Covid-tested” and “quarantine-free” flight from New York to northern Italy. (Photo by Piero Cruciatti / AFP)

Those wishing to travel must also fill in a digital location form before boarding, the Digital Passenger Locator Form (dPLF).

After completion of this document, passengers receive an email with a QR code, which must be given at the check-in desk in order to be allowed on the flight.

Also during check-in, travellers must provide a completed self-declaration form, specific just to these Covid-tested flights, which states why you are entering Italy from abroad.

A medical worker shows a Covid-19 rapid antigen test, in the test area at Malpensa Airport. (Photo by Piero Cruciatti / AFP)

There’s more paperwork still. Upon landing in Italy, travellers must present another self-declaration form to the police. Again, this relates to Covid-tested flights only.


A passenger undergoes a swab test for Covid-19 at Malpensa Airport in Milan.  (Photo by Piero Cruciatti / AFP)

At present, the travel scheme between the United States and Milan covers passengers coming from New York (JFK) on Delta Air Lines flight DL 118 and American Airlines flight AA198.

International travel into and out of Italy is still restricted, with rules varying according to country of origin. But, there are hopes that tourism will resume this summer throughout Europe with the anticipated EU “health passport”.

For the latest updates on travel to Italy, see here.

Member comments

  1. Can the flights be used in the other direction (i.e. Italian residents visiting the US for leisure purposes) or is it strictly for US residents visiting Italy?

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”