Urgent reform of Eurocontrol is being demanded by airlines.

The European air traffic control co-ordinating body needs a new leader committed to “efficiency and reform”.

Lobby group Airlines for Europe (A4E) called for change ahead of the election of a new director general of Eurocontrol next month by national authorities.

A4E has written to national transport ministries setting out its policies outlining both the reform of Eurocontrol and the task faced by the next director general.

Managing director Thomas Reynaert said: “We are dissatisfied with the operation of Eurocontrol where inefficiencies and a lack of transparency have prevailed for too long.

“There has been no ambition to improve cost efficiency. The current election provides an opportunity to correct this.”

He added: “The required reforms are well known and many recommendations have been set out in a report produced for the European Commission on separating the important role of network manager, governing flight routings in European airspace.

“There needs to be a further removal of duplication between the functions of different European agencies and independence from Eurocontrol for the performance review body which oversees what national air navigation service providers charge airlines for air traffic control.

“The status quo cannot be allowed to continue. The selected candidate must have a track record in the delivery of efficiency and reform, of commercial focus, and of being able to lead change in a complex industrial relations environment, without this degenerating into service disruptions and strikes.”

A4E estimates there have been 217 days of strikes by air traffic controllers in Europe between 2010 and 2016 costing €12 billion.