Investigation into American Maintenance

Dallas, TX – DALLAS (AP) Federal regulators are investigating American Airlines over structural repairs to its aging fleet of MD-80 series aircraft.

A Federal Aviation Administration official, Lynn Lunsford, said Friday that the investigation centered on 16 planes.

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

A spokesman for American, Tim Wagner, declines to comment on that but but says mothballing the aircraft wouldn't let it escape scrutiny. He says the FAA has complete access to retired airplanes, and it exercises that access frequently.

Wagner says American is responding to the FAA's investigation. He declines to comment further.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.