He then fled the vehicle and ran along the runway as multiple police cars chased him, as caught on video.
Police said they began pursuing the white Mercedes when it was spotted speeding the wrong way down a nearby highway.
France experienced a day of travel chaos today when Lyon Saint-Exupéry airport was forced to close down for several hours and cancel over 80 flights when a vehicle smashed through the perimeter fence of the major French hub and drove onto the runway.
Lyon Saint-Exupéry, France's third busiest airport, was closed and about 50 flights cancelled after the man, in his 30s, smashed through a security barrier today and drove through the terminal, on to the airport apron and then the runway.
The auto is seen careening across the dirt and onto the runway before the fugitive throws himself from the vehicle and starts running.
There, he rammed into automatic glass doors near the main entrance to Terminal 1 and drove through the building.More news: New York Times, overwhelmed after anonymous op-ed, increases security for newsroom
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A police source added that the man's motives were not yet known.
An AFP journalist who was waiting in one of the planes on the runway saw police vehicles pursuing the man.
The driver first smashed through a security barrier at the Lyon-Bron business airport before changing direction and heading to Lyon's main Saint-Exupery airport about 20km away.
The airport's operator said a Twitter that after an "incident" traffic had been suspended until further notice.
The Lyon prosecutors' office is investigating possible charges of attempted murder against the suspect.
The driver ran off when the auto came to a stop but was then arrested after being tackled by officers.