Orly Airport: What to do if you’re caught in the madness

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Editor’s Note — It’s never advisable to crowd one of the most important hubs in the world, but today Paris has been closed to non-European travellers, after a high-speed train from Germany was targeted in attacks Friday night in France. CNN Travel’s Donna Cole discusses what travelers can do if they are caught in the madness at or near Orly Airport.

At Orly Airport, today. Photo: Image Credit: CNBC/Alexandra Crampton

Paris — Stretching 12 miles along the Seine, the O.P.A.-operated Orly Airport is France’s third-busiest hub, and it isn’t letting travelers arrive by air today.

Known for its domestic and European flights, the airport is also the gateway to Paris, and therefore is as much a tourist attraction as it is a gateway to the French capital.

Most departures and arrivals were halted at midday Friday, with planes grounded as officers lay siege to the apartment block where two suspects were believed to be hiding.

French anti-terror forces remain on high alert in the wake of a string of attacks in Paris and the country at large. We take a look at what travelers should do if they’re caught in the chaos at or near Orly Airport.

Why is Orly shut?

An anti-terror raid takes place in Paris’s 19th arrondissement. Photo: Getty Images

A manhunt for two alleged jihadists took place in the 19th district of the French capital on Friday, with two suspects believed to be holed up in an apartment block, CNN reported.

French authorities said armed police were able to storm the building early Friday morning after an operation that began at the earliest hours of the morning.

There are flights being delayed due to the Paris airport being shutdown. Photo: Don Arnold/getty Images/Getty Images

Transport Minister Alain Vidalies announced the closure at 12 p.m. ET on Friday. The airport was also closed during the terror attacks in November 2015.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it would not put in place an emergency no-fly notice for the airport.

However, a flight schedule update from the authority said there was an aircraft congestion issue that could prevent some flights from leaving the airport.

“Overnight, several aircraft with more than 100 passengers were unable to depart Orly,” the change statement said.

“The congestion in the departure halls is being addressed by additional police.”

The NYPD said it had increased security at Paris-area airports.

The airport is Paris’s third-busiest hub. Photo: Getty Images

Why is the airport closed?

Five other people have been arrested by French police in connection with an “attack plot,” according to French President Emmanuel Macron.

“We have information that elements were about to take place. Everything is being reinforced and we have to adapt,” said Macron Friday.

While specific details about the suspects weren’t released, the interior minister confirmed Friday that “the two raids took place” in Paris and one in Reims, southwestern France.

“The level of alert is considered high. This is the highest level level of the alert,” Bernd Lutter, the Paris airport authority’s executive director, told AFP

“We don’t know when flights will resume, but flights could come back later today,” he added.

Long delays

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