Only around 20% of lungs donated are actually used in transplantation in the UK, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust said.
The charity has called for an overhaul of the system to end the "transplant lottery".
Sufferers on the transplant list wait, on average, for more than a year - 412 days, the charity said.
More than 10,000 people from across the UK suffer from the life-shortening condition, which is caused by a faulty gene. It leads to a sticky mucus clogging the lungs and digestive system, which makes it hard for sufferers to breathe and eat.
The report's authors called on NHS Blood and Transplant to develop a new "lung allocation system".
When lungs become available they are currently offered to the closest transplant centre, when a recipient has been identified.