National

Feb 10, 2010 9:47 AM by Associated Press

FAA eyes hefty fines for American

Government and industry officials say the FAA is close to wrapping up a two-year investigation of safety violations at American Airlines. The result could be one of the largest fines in the agency's history.

The officials who spoke on condition of anonymity say the Federal Aviation Administration investigation involves improperly secured wiring in 290 MD-80s. The wires could become damaged and, in some cases, presented a potential fire hazard.

Hundreds of planes were grounded in April 2008 because of the problem. The officials say while the amount of the fine hasn't yet been determined, it will likely be in the same ballpark as the more
than $10 million fine levied against Southwest for planes that missed required examinations. It was ultimately settled for $7.5 million.

Separately, the officials say the Transportation Department's inspector general is due to release an audit in the next several days that criticizes FAA for lax oversight of aircraft maintenance at American.

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