EasyJet suffered almost 1,000 flight cancellations last month due to a combination of strikes by air traffic controllers and bad weather.

The UK budget carrier cancelled 974 flights in May, equivalent to 2.5% of planned capacity but up on the 117 experienced in the same month last year.

Around 600 were due to French and Italian industrial action with a further 300 arising from adverse weather conditions and air traffic control restrictions.

Rival Ryanair yesterday said more than 1,100 of its flights were cancelled in May affecting 200,000 passengers for the same reasons.

EasyJet’s level of grounded flights was disclosed as the airline revealed that May passenger carryings rose by 3.7% to almost 7.8 million year-on-year.

The load factor improved by 1.8 percentage points to 93.3%.

The May performance gave easyJet a rolling annual passenger total up 8.4% to more than 83 million with a load factor of 93.5%.