Italy’s Aeroporti di Roma (AdR) has announced plans to further extend Covid-tested flights to new international destinations, including North America and Japan.

The expansion will take place under a trial scheme that has been in operation since December, reported Reuters.

In partnership with Alitalia and Delta Airlines, AdR, which operates Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, has been running Covid-tested flights on the Rome-New York and Rome-Atlanta routes.

While presenting the project at a conference hosted by ACI Europe, AdR CEO Marco Troncone said that the company has requested the Italian Government to extend the trial for these flights, as it is set to end this month.

Troncone was quoted by Reuters as saying: “We are working to obtain an extension of the trial phase beyond 15 February and to get more airlines, airports and institutions involved to promote effective, sustainable and homogeneous protocols across Europe.”

ACI Europe director general Olivier Jankovec said that airport operators are experiencing additional pressure due to the new Covid-19 variants and the delays in the vaccination roll-out across the European Union.

Jankovec said: “Airports have essentially written off the coming months, but they desperately need to see a recovery in passenger traffic by the summer. With the vaccination drive across the EU in disarray, this is now being questioned. We risk seeing tight restrictions and bans on travel remaining in place beyond the summer, including for intra-European travel.”

He also recommended the aviation sector to work with the European Union to find a sustainable alternative to strict travel constraints.

Fiumicino Airport has asked the government to extend the trial to all Italian airports and is working to introduce additional Covid-tested flights to North America and Japan.

For processing the negative test certificates before departure, the airport is implementing health pass solutions and working on the development of a travel health portal.

Moreover, AdR has been discussing ideas regarding a ‘clean corridor’ between Italy and Germany with German carrier Lufthansa. However, no conclusion has been drawn as of now.

The results of the project at the Rome airport revealed that during the trial phase, only five passengers out of 3,824 tested positive.

In a separate development, Airport Handling, dnata’s joint venture in Italy, and Beta Trans have signed a strategic partnership to offer various cargo services at Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP).

The two firms will jointly provide safe ramp and cargo handling, warehousing and road feeder services.