Wizz Air can survive the Covid crisis without carrying a single passenger for the next two years, according to chief executive Joszef Varadi.

Speaking at the World Aviation Festival, Varadi said: “In a way we have been waiting for this crisis. The benefit of a crisis is there are winners and losers and you can come out a stronger force.

“There are three types of airlines in this situation – those bailed out by governments, those which take care of the situation themselves like us, and those in between.

“If you are between those two you are likely to have a hard time to get out of this.”

He insisted: “If we don’t carry a single passenger from now on we will still be in business in two years.”

Wizz restored capacity this summer faster than any other airline in Europe. Varadi said: “We managed to rebound to 80% of our capacity of 2019 throughout the summer against the industry figure of 50%, so we did better than the industry.

“We operated through the period with a positive cash contribution.”

But today Wizz announced a reduction in capacity for October and the coming winter to 50% of the 2019 level owing to travel restrictions around Europe “and the subsequent drop in demand”.

Varadi said: “The industry comes up against government restrictions – and restrictions without coordination. We operate to 46 countries and no two countries operate the same measures. It is horrific.

“It has become a zoo and we see also some political agendas. So it is very complicated.”

He insisted: “When the restrictions are removed, we see people’s intention to travel almost overnight.”

Varadi argued: “We are not immune [to the restrictions]. The difference is we have liquidity and we are the lowest cost [operator].

“The single biggest issue is your cost base. We are one of the few airlines in the world to continue to take new aircraft. So our cost base will be lower post-Covid. We are looking forward to post-Covid markets.”