SkyWest Airlines, based in St. George, has been fined $20,000 by the Federal Aviation Administration for alleged security violations.

The airlines, which serves 45 cities in eight Western states, failed to detect mock weapons such as dummy guns at passenger security points, said John Layden, FAA news chief. The mock weapons were hidden in carry-on baggage by undercover FAA officials or carried through the security points in person.Donna Jardine, SkyWest marketing director, said the airlines is cooperating with the FAA. The company has 10 days to officially respond.

"It's important to note that the fines are based on alleged violations," said Jardine.

The Skywest fines are part of a "get-tough" campaign begun in October 1987 to improve safety on the airlines. Currently, security-risk objects are detected 80 percent of the time. The FAA's goal is to improve that percentage to 100 by giving stiffer fines.

"Nothing gets an airline's attention more than to assess significant fines," said Layden.