SkyWest Inc. has reported a net loss of $615,000 for the third fiscal quarter ended Dec. 31, compared to a net loss of $263,000 for the same quarter in 1989.

Net income for the nine months was $2.78 million, down from $3.24 million for the comparable period a year earlier.SkyWest Inc. operates as the Delta Connection in eight Western states serving 42 cities including the Delta Air Lines hub cities of Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.

SkyWest President Jerry Atkin said the airline's third fiscal quarter historically results in near break-even operations, but was particularly soft this year due to the impact of the recessionary economy and the increase in average fuel prices.

"Average fuel prices rose to $1.35 per gallon from 89 cents per gallon for the three months ended Dec. 31, 1989, and from 77 cents per gallon prior to the invasion of Kuwait. The company has increased fares to offset the higher fuel prices, however, the number of passengers carried was less than expected, resulting in the loss.

Atkin said SkyWest is "well prepared financially to endure challenging times our industry is experiencing and remains committed to future plans and providing a high level of customer service."