London City airport has increased its number of security lanes by 50% as the airport responds both to the government’s tighter security demands and its own growth in passenger numbers.

Chief executive Richard Gooding said two additional full-size security check lanes have been added to the four already available in a bid to speed up increasingly thorough security checks at the demands of the government.

The airport has also had to respond to a growth in leisure passengers, many of whom are less familiar with the security procedures than business traveller and take longer to pass through the checks. Leisure passengers now account for about a third of the airport’s customers.

“To a degree we’ve become victims of our own success as we’ve started to look after large numbers of leisure passengers,” said Gooding.

“But two-thirds of our customers are still business travellers and they expect us to get them through with the minimum of difficulty.

“If an airport gets a reputation for having slow security, then business travellers will switch to other airports.”

Gooding said he believed the airport was the first to sacrifice commercial premises to improve security.

He added that a further £7 million had been allocated to improving the airport’s security, with all improvements expected to be completed by the end of this year.

To publicise the improvements, London City will launch in May a training programme consisting of up to six modules targeted at business travel agents.

The programme will feature details about access to the airport, routes, airlines, and how best to make bookings. It will also be targeted at overseas agents wanting to book flights for business travellers coming to London.