Italy extends Covid-tested international flights to Bologna

The Italian government has given the go-ahead for 'Covid-free' flights to land at a fifth airport in Italy, saving certain international travellers from quarantine in exchange for double tests.

Italy extends Covid-tested international flights to Bologna
A bird's-eye view of Bologna. Photo by Anastasia Zhenina from Pexels

Bologna’s Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ) is now allowed to accept Covid-tested flights from the United Arab Emirates, after getting official authorisation on August 11th.

Such flights, which require passengers to test negative for coronavirus both before and after the journey,  previously only served airports in Rome, Milan, Naples and Venice. 

As well as the UAE, travellers from the United States, Canada and Japan also have the option to fly on Covid-tested services – but in those cases, fully vaccinated or recovered visitors are not subject to quarantine even if they arrive on regular flights.


Passengers arriving from the UAE would otherwise have to get a test no more than 72 hours before flying, then quarantine for five days on arrival in Italy and take a second test to end their isolation. 

Instead, travelling on a Covid-tested flight involves getting a test no more than 48 hours before boarding as well as on arrival in Italy. If both are negative, no quarantine or further tests are required.

Other Italian airports that accept Covid-tested flights, including Rome Fiumicino, Milan Malpensa and Venice Marco Polo, have begun charging passengers on top of their ticket fare €20 to get tested on arrival.

READ ALSO: Bologna’s porticoes are added to UNESCO World Heritage list

Photo by Thaddaeus Lim on Unsplash

Before the pandemic Bologna used to receive daily flights from Dubai, a major hub for passengers connecting from Asia and Australasia, and currently Emirates operates around three flights a week on the route.

BLQ’s directors had been pushing for months for permission to host Covid-tested flights to avoid losing out to Italy’s larger airports.

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TRAVEL: Delays expected as Italian airport workers strike on Friday

Passengers travelling to and from Italian airports were warned to expect delays on Friday, January 27th, due to strikes by baggage handlers and other staff, with Milan's Linate set to be worst affected.

TRAVEL: Delays expected as Italian airport workers strike on Friday

Strike action on by staff from airport ground service companies may result in delays and queues at some Italian airports, with ticket desks, check-in and baggage handling likely to be affected.

At the national level, ground support staff will take part in a strike held by several of Italy’s biggest trade unions during the day, while an additional strike by baggage handlers at Milan’s Linate airport is expected to cause further disruption.

“It won’t be so much a problem of cancelled flights, even if sometimes the airlines seize the opportunity to cancel one that would leave half empty, but of delays,” Renzo Canavesi, CUB union leader for the Lombardy region, told La Stampa.

READ ALSO: Should you travel in Italy when there’s a strike on?

At Linate, ground service company Swissport Italia and handling companies Airport Handling and Air Cargo plan to strike on Friday.

Staff from Swissport Italia will hold a 24-hour strike at Linate, while the other two ground operators will strike for four hours (from 10.30am to 2.30pm for Airport Handling; from 9pm to 1am of the next day for Airport Cargo).

Passengers are advised to arrive early for flights and to check the status of their service before leaving for the airport.

Passengers may be entitled to compensation in the event of severe delays or flight cancellations. See our guide for further details.

You can keep up to date with the latest strike news from Italy HERE.