SEATTLE (AP) -- Alaska Air Group Inc. said Thursday that its fourth-quarter net income fell 31 percent on tough comparisons to a prior-year period boosted by a hefty accounting gain from fuel hedging.
The parent company of Alaska Airlines earned $44 million, or 61 cents per share, down from $64 million, or 88 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.
The recent quarter's results included a loss of $6 million related to fuel hedging, while those of the year-ago included a $27 million gain. Excluding that, the company posted adjusted profit of $50 million, or 70 cents per share, for the 2012 quarter.
Operating revenue rose 8 percent to $1.13 billion, as passenger revenue increased 9 percent to $981 million, while freight and mail revenue rose 4 percent to $26 million.
The results matched Wall Street predictions. Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 70 cents per share on $1.13 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.
For all of 2012, Alaska Air earned $316 million, or $4.40 per share, compared with $245 million, or $3.33 per share, in 2011. Operating revenue rose to $4.66 billion from $4.32 billion.
Alaska Air shares fell 17 cents to $46.48 in midday trading.