A white vehicle can be seen speeding through a field toward the runway at Lyon's Saint-Exupéry global airport on Monday.
Video posted to social media and broadcast on French TV shows the closing moments of a dramatic chase scene, where a white auto speeds past the runway, with police in pursuit.
There he rammed into automatic glass doors near the main entrance to Terminal 1 and drove through the building, smashing through another set of doors before emerging on the runway, chased by about a dozen police vehicles and a helicopter. It showed the vehicle hitting a bump, going airborne and landing in a cloud of dust at Lyon's global Saint-Exupery airport.
The motive of the driver, whose identity has not yet been made public, was not clear, the source said.
The airport was forced to temporarily close its runway as police tried to stop him.
Officials said that earlier the man smashed through a security barrier at Lyon-Bron business airport, about 20 kilometres away, before turning back.
After continuing for a few metres the driver then abandons the auto while it is still moving and tries to flee on foot.
Nobody was injured in the incident.
Followed by the forces of law and order, he drove into Terminal 1 with his auto before getting to the runway, where he was overpowered by those forces and arrested.
Flights have been halted at the major French airport.
The driver, dressed in dark clothing, then abandoned the auto and fled on foot.
The airport, located 20km from the center of Lyon, handled over 10 million passengers in 2017.