Speaking at the Accelerate Aviation 2018 conference in London today, SAS chief operating officer and executive vice president Lars Sandahl Sorensen said many air traffic control problems in Europe are caused by individual countries with individual airspace.
He instead urged European leaders to come up with a continent-wide plan to solve the problem.
Sorensen said: "Air space control is a fundamental area (for change). We are living in the past as we are looking at separate countries (to solve the problem) and we’re not seeing it as an overall issue.
"We need to work together on European skies. Imagine how many tonnes of fuel are being wasted because of the old-fashioned ways of operation."
EasyJet chief operating officer Chris Browne said a failure to work together affected airlines at all levels of operations.
He added: "It can’t be done in isolation, we’re only as successful as the weakest link in the train.
"If you are on time and everybody is ready to go but you face congestion in the airport that’s not good for anyone.
"When you have collaboration with everyone touches an aircraft we see much greater success... and there is a recognition that we have to pull together to make sure we’re delivering better services."
Both the speakers, who were taking part in a panel discussion on how best to grow a global carrier, added the other key issue facing the industry is over capacity.
Browne said: "There are too many aircraft in the skies and that puts pressure on pricing and we are seeing the consequences of that over time."
She said with fuel prices going up, weaker airlines are now beginning to struggle as can be seen recently with a number of airline failures and acquisitions.
Sorensen added: "It I pretty amazing that we have made it very difficult for ourselves in terms of pricing.
"There is an oversupply and there will continue to be oversupply for some time."