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Alaska Air Group 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 Seattle parent company of Alaska Airlines earned $44 million, or 61 cents a share, down from $64 million, or 88 cents a 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 a 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 a share on $1.13 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

For all of 2012, Alaska Air earned $316 million, or $4.40 a share, compared with $245 million, or $3.33 a share, in 2011. Operating revenue rose to $4.66 billion from $4.32 billion.

Alaska Air shares dropped 26 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $46.39 Thursday.