Lyon Saint-Exupéry airport was closed today following a high-speed car chase akin to a scene from an action movie when a white Mercedes with Luxembourg plates drove onto the runways, leading to take-offs and landings being cancelled. Social media was alive with photos and videos of the airport, showing the car being chased by police vehicles.

Following the car chase, a person, presumed to be the driver of the car, is pursued across the airfield by police, both on foot and in vehicles. The man was arrested but has not yet been identified.

Car chase came from adjacent motorway

The Guardian is reporting that the driver was involved in a police car chase on the adjacent A432 motorway, running parallel to the runways. It then moved on to the runways themselves after the car smashed through a toll booth. While this was happening, all flights were halted.

According to Eurocontrol, the runway was unavailable up until 16:00 UTC due to the incident. Their statement said a zero-rate regulation was applied, meaning planes would not be expected to depart or arrive until 6 PM French time.

Many flights affected by the car chase

The airport is a major hub for Air France and easyJet flights and is the fourth busiest airport in the country. This meant many flights were delayed, cancelled or diverted to other airports.

Flightradar24 reported the last departure as being the 11:20 AM Wizz Air flight to Warsaw, with the last arriving flight being the Transavia flight from Tunis at 11:15 AM.

Among the diversion, alternative airports available were Grenoble, Geneva, Nice and Marseille, which received in total 15 flights involving more than 2,000 passengers.

Geneva saw more than half the diverted flights. However, that airport declared at 1:30 PM local time that it could not accept any more diverted flights.

Passengers concerned on easyJet flight

The Independent reports that passengers travelling from Toulouse with easyJet received a series of worrying messages. The passengers were initially told there had been a security incident at Lyon airport and that the airport was closed and no flights were departing.

They were then told there would be some disruption to their flight.

The story changed in the next message the passengers received, which told them the flight was being diverted to Geneva and that they would continue their journey by road to Lyon. However, the third message told passengers that Geneva was not able to accept their flight and that the airline was working out a plan for them to continue their journey. The final message told them they would land in Grenoble instead.

Another easyJet flight travelling from Luton to Lyon was kept on the tarmac for an hour before it was eventually cancelled.

50 arrivals and departures cancelled

Between 4,000 to 5,000 passengers were affected after over 50 arrivals and departures were cancelled.

Vueling flights from Barcelona and Rome received early inbound cancellations and the returning legs of the flights were also grounded. Lufthansa flights were also affected, with one flight from Munich to Lyon sent back home. Another flight to Frankfurt was cancelled.