Munich airport cancels 200 flights after intruder alert

Travellers gather in front of information boards at Terminal 2 at Munich airport on July 28, 2018.
Travellers gather in front of information boards at Terminal 2 at Munich airport on July 28, 2018.PHOTO: AFP
Travellers gather behinds gates at Terminal 2 at Munich airport.
Travellers gather behinds gates at Terminal 2 at Munich airport.PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (AFP) - Around 200 flights had to be cancelled and two terminals evacuated at Munich airport on Saturday (July 28) after an unidentified person entered a secure area, police and the airport said.

The person - a woman - made it into a secure area of Terminal 2 without being checked and then disappeared without trace despite an extensive search, police said, adding that they did not believe she represented an "extreme danger".

Several thousand people at the airport on a busy weekend of holiday departures had to be evacuated.

Sixty flights were also delayed.

The airport is the second-busiest in Germany.

Police were notified at around 6.45am local time that an unknown individual, later identified as a 40-year-old woman, passed through a security area without being checked by personnel, said German newspaper Deutsche Welle.

This prompted an hours-long search through the terminal, an airport spokeswoman said. 

According to the Express, the terminal was shut between 7.47am and 12.44pm GMT while police officers were conducting their investigations. The lockdown affected both travellers and people working inside the terminal, it said. 

Bavaria's police later tweeted: "Current state at MUC_Airport: the Schengen area in T2 has been cleared, searched and just released. Intra-Schengen flights on T2 will soon be possible again."

Airport operator Flughafen Muenchen confirmed in a press release that flights resumed at 1pm GMT (9pm Singapore time).

Police did not immediately say whether the person in question had been found or how the security breach had happened, the Express reported.

According to Deutsche Welle, a police spokesman said authorities knew who the woman was and where she was from. She was not considered an "extreme danger". They declined to share what consequences the woman would face.

The temporary closure of the terminal sparked chaos in the airport, with dozens taking to Twitter to share their worries and complains about the delays and chaos. 

Journalist and Twitter user Paula Vilen wrote: "Security issue at #Munich airport, all passengers are sent out from terminal 2. Our pilot from Helsinki told one person has gone inside the terminal without the security check. Officials try to find this person now. Oh boy!"

Keeping her followers updated on the events unfolding, she later added: "Looks like we who are connecting can stay inside. But not too many information officers here at #Munich airport. Now all the restaurants and tax-free stores closed. Looks like we’ll be here for a while." 

Another social media user, Brian Lorenzen, added: "Absolute madness at Munich Airport due to Terminal 2 security breach. #munichairport"

Lorenzen later added that every passenger who cleared security was being redirected through arrivals to go once again through security, said the Express.