SkyWest Airlines reported net income of $606,000 or 12 cents per share for the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31. This compares with a loss of $907,000 or 22 cents per share for the same period a year earlier.

Skywest said the improved earnings were a result of increased load factors throughout the route system while maintaining a strong yield per revenue passenger mile and lowering cost per available seat mile 5.5 percent.The company has now taken delivery of seven new Metroliner III aircraft replacing older Metroliner II aircraft that were sold or leased by an aircraft manufacturer.

The annual dividend declaration was made during the quarter. It was increased from 3 1/2 cents to 5 1/2 cents per share and was paid on Jan. 20, 1989 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 30, 1988.

The company's financial position continued to improve during the quarter including increases in cash and cash equivalents, marketable securities and total current assets. Current liabilities were maintained at a comparable level with the preceding quarter and long-term debt and capital lease obligations were reduced.

SkyWest presently serves 44 cities in eight Western states, operating as the Delta Connection to major hubs including Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.