Regional airline Rex hit a 12-month high of $1.74 on Wednesday after announcing a 45 per cent jump in half-year profit to $9 million.

That compares to $6.2 million profit in the same period last year.

Profit before tax hit $13.8 million on $151 million turnover — making Sydney-based Rex Group once again Australia’s most profitable airline.

Passenger numbers were up 3.6 per cent, continuing a trend from last year.

“The Board believes that 2H FY18 will also see improvement over the prior period although not by such a spectacular amount,” said executive chairman Lim Kim Hai.

“Over the full FY, we believe that the overall results should show an improvement of over 20 per cent compared to the prior year.”

Rex’s before-tax profit was greater than Virgin Australia’s $8.4 million figure on revenue of $2.4 billion, reported today. However Virgin says its underlying profit before tax of was up 142 per cent to $102.5 million, its highest figure in 10 years, reports Business Insider Australia.

Rex also announced it would expand its Perth to Carnarvon and Monkey Mia routes.

Rex will up its frequency to 24 weekly services between Perth and Carnarvon and 12 weekly services to Monkey Mia, a 20 per cent and 50 per cent increase in flights.

Monkey Mia – pronounced my-ah – is a popular West Australian tourist destination known for dolphins that greet visitors on the shore.

As part of the deal with the Western Australian Government, Rex (ASX:REX) will have the sole right to operate on the route for a five-year term starting from July 2.

After hitting a 12-month high of $1.74 in mid-morning trade, the shares fell back to $1.65 by 2.30pm AEDT.

The move will be Rex’s first foray to the west, after predominantly operating in the eastern States since 2002.

Its entire fleet consists of 52 turboprop aircraft seating between 33 and 36 people.

REX share price movements over the past month.
REX shares over the past month.