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FAA reviewing repairs to carrier’s MD-80 planes

By Associated Press
September 5, 2009

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DALLAS - Federal regulators are investigating American Airlines over structural repairs to its aging fleet of MD-80 series aircraft.

A Federal Aviation Administration official said yesterday that the investigation centered on 16 planes.

The Wall Street Journal reported FAA officials suspect American rushed to retire one of the planes to keep it away from inspectors.

A spokesman for American denied the accusation and said mothballing the aircraft wouldn’t let it escape FAA scrutiny.

FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford declined to say whether inspectors believed the airline had tried to hide the plane or whether they had examined it in the New Mexico desert, where it is now parked. He said inspectors examined “a number of planes.’’

Lunsford said the investigation centered on repairs to the rear bulkhead of the MD-80 series aircraft.