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American Airlines Settles Safety Claims For $24.9M

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DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines plans to pay $24.9 million to settle complaints filed by U.S. safety regulators going back several years.

The settlement will resolve about $162 million in potential fines against American and its American Eagle regional-flying affiliate over electrical wiring on planes and other issues.

American calls the payment “a reasonable resolution” to the claims filed by the Federal Aviation Administration.

American’s parent, AMR Corp., disclosed the settlement Tuesday in a filing with the federal bankruptcy court in New York.

A spokeswoman for American said the airline was pleased with the settlement over a claim that the FAA had lodged as part of AMR’s bankruptcy reorganization.

“This settlement recognizes the many changes, including enhancements to our maintenance and engineering processes, increased training, inspections, and audits that have taken place at American over the past several years that address past FAA concerns,” spokeswoman Andrea Huguely said in a statement.

The settlement is subject to the bankruptcy court’s approval. AMR expects to emerge from bankruptcy protection and merge with US Airways Group Inc. by the end of September.

In 2010 the FAA proposed a record penalty of $24.2 million against American over maintenance lapses that caused planes to be grounded and thousands of flights to be canceled in 2008. The FAA said that American crews had not followed proper procedures in restraining electrical wires on many planes, raising the risk of fires and fuel-tank explosions.

The airline always insisted that passenger safety was never compromised and that the FAA’s charges were overblown.

The FAA was investigating American for possible violations of other safety rules when AMR filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2011. Last August the agency filed a claim in bankruptcy court for up to $162.4 million.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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