American Airlines (AMR) will pay a $3 million civil penalty to resolve Justice Department (search) concerns that it violated terms of a 1994 consent decree intended to promote air fare competition.

The penalty was part of a settlement filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Washington, the Justice Department announced.

"These decrees are designed to promote competition, and the department will ensure that parties strictly comply for the entire life of the decree," said R. Hewitt Pate, assistant attorney general for antitrust matters.

The Justice Department said American violated terms of the 1994 decree by publishing certain fares with increased advance purchase requirements only for future travel dates, rather than current travel. This effectively reduced American's risk of losing passengers to other airlines.

The settlement prohibits American from using these travel dates when initiating or matching fare increases.