Travel restrictions have crushed a global airline industry that says preflight tests would be better than quarantines.
Delta Air Lines Inc is in talks with governments to add more quarantine-free trips to international destinations after the first two such flights take off this week for Europe, an executive for the United States-based carrier said on Tuesday.
The aviation industry has largely backed the creation of such agreements, travel corridors and “bubbles”, where passengers testing negative for the novel coronavirus can fly without lengthy quarantines to stop COVID-19, as a way to revive battered demand.
The US carrier’s two flights, which start on Tuesday from Atlanta to Amsterdam, require travellers to take multiple tests for the coronavirus and are restricted to passengers making essential trips.
Even as COVID-19 vaccinations get started this week in the US and Canada, airlines see testing as the fastest way to resume international travel without quarantines since inoculation campaigns will take time.
“This is the first step,” Perry Cantarutti, Delta’s senior vice president, alliances and international, told reporters on a call. “It could help us to create similar programs in other markets.”