The relocation in April 2010 of Wizz Air’s corporate headquarters to Geneva from Budapest, where its operational headquarters remain, has been ideal for József Váradi to indulge in his passion for skiing. He has no favourite destination among the wealth of top quality resorts around Geneva, opting to ski wherever is convenient.
He plays as much sport as his work and family life allow, which includes tennis and golf, while he is also a keen spectator.“Like a good European citizen I like soccer. I follow the large leagues like the UK Premiership and the Spanish league. I try and make it from time to time to be a spectator of those or the European Champions League.
”He does not fraternise with fellow chief executive Michael O’Leary, but would not be averse to watching a sports match together. However, since both men head companies where cost savings are fundamental to their philosophy, Váradi envisages there might be problems over who would pick up the bill for the tickets. “Both of us would need to be invited,” he says.
While he rigidly applies low-cost principles in the same manner, Váradi says he would not go as far as his counterpart in terms of publicity stunts. Speaking about O’Leary’s threats to start charging passengers for using the toilet, he says: “I think it’s a great speech, but I think it’s meaningless.
”Wizz was the recipient of a large amount of unconventional publicity itself after the UK’s Prince Harry was rumoured in the European media to have flown to Romania with the budget airline over Easter 2012.