Jozsef Varadi Awarded CAPA Aviation Executive Of The Year Award
This award is for the airline executive who has had the greatest individual influence on the aviation industry, demonstrating outstanding strategic thinking and innovative direction for the growth of their business and the industry.
Jozsef Varadi was selected for growing Wizz Air into the largest airline in Central/Eastern Europe. Mr Varadi co-founded Wizz in 2003 and the airline now carries over 34 million passengers per year with a fleet of 105 aircraft.
Wizz won the CAPA Low Cost Airline of the Year in 2016. It has since grown, profitably, by nearly another 50%, recording passenger growth of 24% in 2017 and 20% through the first 11 months of 2018.
In the the decade to FY2018, Wizz Air’s fleet increased from 18 to 93 aircraft and its passenger numbers grew at an average of 21% pa, while its load factor rose from the low 80s to more than 91%. The airline has managed this growth, while also developing a consistent track record as Europe’s second most profitable airline company by operating margin over the past four years.
Wizz’s very low unit cost defines it as an ultra-LCC, which allows it to drive demand with very low fares, and its commercial focus means that ancillary revenue is 42% of the total, the highest such share among European airlines. Wizz Air has more aircraft on order, 264, than any other airline in Europe as it seeks to transform its fleet from A320ceo domination to one that is dominated by A321neos in search of even lower unit costs.
“Jozsef Varadi has shown remarkable courage and vision in building a profitable low cost airline in a market historically associated with state owned, bureaucratically run, loss-making flag carriers,” Mr Harbison said.