Europe’s air traffic control system is “bleeding from every wound” after it had the worst delays to flights on record last year, the boss of Wizz Air claimed.

Jozsef Varadi, CEO of the Hungarian budget carrier, called the system’s failures “ridiculous” and “outrageous”.

He blamed air traffic controller strikes in France, staff shortages in Germany and a lack of co-operation between national authorities across Europe as delays reached a total of 19.1 million minutes last year, double that of 2017.

Speaking to the Financial Times, he said: “If you look at the disruption issues behind last summer, basically it’s been very much driven by ATC [air traffic control] dysfunctioning.”

Varadi said he was “not expecting a significant improvement” this summer, but added that Wizz Air was improving its resilience by putting more slack into its system, such as spare aircraft.

He was adding his voice to criticism of Europe’s air traffic control system raised by other airline bosses attending a conference held by trade body Airlines for Europe in Brussels last week.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways owner International Airlines Group, reported that 334 million passengers suffered delays, saying: “This is disgraceful. It is completely unacceptable. It must be addressed.”