Hamburg Airport was evacuated and flight operations suspended late on Saturday night after a gunman crashed his car through a security gate and drove onto the apron close to packed passenger planes, where he threw Molotov cocktails onto the tarmac while holding his four-year-old daughter hostage.
As heavily armed police evacuated the airport and locked down the area, Hamburg Airport suspended all flight operations. Thousands of passengers were impacted on Saturday, but with no end in sight to the unfolding hostage situation, many more passengers will be hit by cancellations on Sunday.
The man’s wife is understood to have called police shortly after he crashed his Audi into the secure airside area of Hamburg Airport on Saturday, reporting that he had taken their daughter and was heading to the airport.
After crashing through the security gate, the man drove his Audi close to a Turkish Airlines plane, which was parked at a gate on Saturday night. Local media reports claim the man has demanded to be allowed to fly to Türkiye.
The plane had passengers onboard at the time of the incident but was quickly evacuated. A police spokesperson says that no one has so far been injured.
As of 6:40 am on Sunday morning, the Hamburg police department said that the operation was ongoing and that specialist negotiation teams were in contact with the people in the car.
The man is believed to be armed, and initial reports claimed he fired at least two shots into the air after making it into the apron at Hamburg Airport. German tabloid Bild claims the suspect is a 35-year-old male, originally from Türkiye.
Access roads to the airport have been closed off, public transport suspended, and the main terminal buildings shuttered as the police operation continues. On Sunday morning, Hamburg Airport warned that flight operations would remain suspended until further notice.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.