(Adds CEO quote, details)
Feb 8 (Reuters) - Alaska Air Group Inc, which became the fifth-largest U.S. carrier after completing its $2.6 billion acquisition of Virgin America Inc in December, reported a 10.7 percent rise in quarterly revenue as it flew more passengers.
Alaska Air said passenger unit revenue, which compares sales to how many seats an airline flies and how far it flies them, fell about 1 percent in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.
Excluding special items, the Seattle-based company’s cost per available seat mile - a measure of airline efficiency calculated by dividing an airline’s operating costs with its available seat miles - rose to $7.57, up 0.4 percent, from $7.54 a year earlier.
The company's net income fell to $114 million, or 92 cents per share, in the quarter from $191 million, or $1.51 per share, a year earlier. (bit.ly/2klw1BL)
Excluding items, Alaska Air earned $1.56 per share in the quarter, compared with $1.46 per share a year earlier. Analysts had expected a more modest earnings per share of $1.40 in that period.
Total operating revenue rose to $1.52 billion from $1.38 billion.
“2016 was an incredible year for Alaska in almost every way, and we are even more excited as we look forward to 2017 and beyond,” Alaska CEO Brad Tilden said in a statement, citing the airline’s acquisition of fellow West Coast carrier Virgin America. (Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru and Alana Wise in New York; Editing by Anil D‘Silva and Bill Trott)