On Wednesday night, April 18, the Russian government extended by two days the period of validity of the agreement between US airlines and Russia about the flights over the territory of the Russian Federation. The current contract expired that night. As stated by US State Department Press Secretary Heather Nauert, the representatives of the State Department held a meeting with the leadership of the airlines to “prevent any disruption" in air traffic.
According to Nauert, earlier, the Russians cancelled the scheduled meeting in Washington where they expected to discuss the extension of the agreement. The State Department spokeswoman added that some US airlines began to plan alternate air routes for their flights without waiting on Moscow’s decision.
The Russian Ministry of Transport stated that Russia sent a letter to US authorities with a demand to postpone the meeting. The Russian source said that did not mean the flights would be stopped. A representative of one of the US airlines, quoted by Reuters, explained that carriers "always prepare for every contingency but confidence remains high that no operational disruptions will occur."