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Speaking of Southwest Airlines ... The Federal Aviation Administration today announced that at long last it has reached an agreement with the Dallas-based carrier concerning those 46 planes that were allowed to fly despite their not having been inspected for fuselage cracks. Southwest will pony up $7.5 million in civil penalties -- an amount that "could double to $15 million if the airline does not accomplish specific safety improvements outlined in the settlement agreement," according to the FAA's media release. The announcement comes only two months after Southwest said it wasn't going to pay the fines because, look, they were unfair -- since, after all, it's not like the FAA stopped Southwest from flying the planes even after it knew of the skipped inspections.