100 flights cancelled due to Frankfurt airport security alert

UPDATE: Some 100 flights were cancelled on Wednesday at Frankfurt Airport due to a partial evacuation and search of the transfer hub after a woman managed to evade security checks.

100 flights cancelled due to Frankfurt airport security alert
Travelers being evacuated from Terminal 1 of Frankfurt airport. Photo: DPA.

Officials had partially evacuated the airport on Wednesday morning before police found and arrested a woman who had somehow evaded proper checks, prompting security concerns.

A spokeswoman from airport operator Fraport said later in the afternoon that around 100 flights were cancelled due to the security concern. Although operations had resumed as normal by around noon, the airport still expected there to be some delays for travellers into the evening.

A spokeswoman for airline Lufthansa said that the company had offered passengers on domestic flights the chance to instead reach their destinations by trains with Deutsche Bahn. Officials though could not say how many travellers had been affected by the cancellations and delays.

Passengers were allowed back into Terminal 1 of Frankfurt Airport on Wednesday afternoon at around 12.20 pm, after the terminal was partially evacuated earlier in the day, Hessischer Rundfunk (HR) reports.

Police tweeted that the evacuation of the area was over, that there was no danger, and that people could check in again.

A woman was ultimately identified and arrested, after she was suspected of passing through security without going through the proper checks.

Fraport tweeted earlier on Wednesday that Terminal 1 had been partially evacuated as a precautionary measure.

The company explained that passengers would need to be checked again before they departed.

Airport police said on Twitter that there was no bomb threat after some media organisations had reported this detail.

The airport did at one point bring in a special vehicle for bomb disposal to inspect an abandoned piece of luggage, but officials said this was unrelated to the security alert.

The airport said that all travelers should “allow extra time to reach the airport”. The company also advised checking flight statuses ahead of time, by clicking this link.

Witnesses at the airport told DPA that passengers had been sent out of the building, and that the atmosphere during the evacuation was calm.

Travellers posted pictures and videos on social media of the airport terminal being evacuated.

German airports including Frankfurt's have been on high alert since terror attacks in Europe, especially after the Brussels airport and metro bombings in March.

Shortly before the Brussels attacks, German police arrested a suspected jihadist at Frankfurt airport over allegations he had joined Isis and appeared in propaganda videos for the group.

Frankfurt airport is of particular security concern because it is a major international transfer hub and Germany's busiest airport for passenger traffic.

It was also the site of an Islamist-motivated shooting in 2011, when an airport post office worker shot and killed two US airmen and wounded two others.


Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.