russia US © Valiantsin Korznikau |
© Valiantsin Korznikau |

Russia’s ministry of transport has agreed on an extension to overflight rights for US carriers, after cancelling a meeting last week with the US State Department.

The approval was given just hours before US carriers would have had to re-route flights.

The extension covers four routes over Russia; three are currently used by both passenger and freighter airlines and, according to the US State Department, have extensions until October 28. The fourth, from Asia to Europe used only by freighter airlines, had an extension of just a few days – to April 20.

A state department spokesperson told The Loadstar: “Russia is proposing a substitute, alternative route for these cargo flights… to extend this beyond 4/20 and through 10/28.”

The routing change is currently unclear as is how it might affect flight times and costs. US freighter operators include Atlas Air, National Airlines and Kalitta. The state department added that it was currently consulting with the carriers on Russia’s proposal.

“We are also working to schedule discussions with Russian civil aviation officials to discuss this and other civil aviation matters,” said the spokesperson. “Our goal remains to provide as many benefits as possible for US carriers.

“We have had a mutually beneficial commercial aviation relationship for decades with Russia, including on overflights by US airlines.”

News that Russia had cancelled the meeting, broken by the The Loadstar last week, brought some confusion to media reports as American Airlines, concerned over how Russia may respond to the US strikes on Syria, decided not to overfly Russia on some of its flights between the US and Hong Kong.

The carrier resumed normal operations on April 15. The deadline for overflight rights was April 17.

Russia’s decision to extend to overflight rights came a day after President Trump decided not to bring a new round of sanctions against the country.

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