Failed Asylum Seeker Causes Airport Chaos, Flights Grounded

A departure board at the airport in Hamburg, northern Germany displays all flights as cancelled on February 14, 2013 due to a strike of security employees. AFP PHOTO / MALTE CHRISTIANS GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read MALTE CHRISTIANS/AFP/Getty Images)

A failed asylum seeker set to be deported caused chaos at Hamburg airport after he ran from authorities, delaying or grounding many flights in the process as they thought he had escaped onto the runway.

A total of eight flights were cancelled and a further 12 more were delayed Thursday evening at Hamburg airport after the 24-year-old Albanian failed asylum seeker was thought to have run onto the runway.

The Albanian worked with a 24-year-old Algerian who authorities say later admitted to helping him get over the fence at the deportation facility which is located next to the airport, Thüringen 24 reports.

A spokesman for the Interior Office said there was evidence that the failed asylum seeker had prepared his escape long in advance saying that he had made his bed look like he was still sleeping in it.

After it was found that he had escaped the facility, the authorities alerted the air traffic control tower in case he had stumbled on to the runway. Authorities grounded flights and also forced four other aircraft to divert to Bremen to land.

Another eight flights were diverted to Hanover, according to a spokesman for Hanover Airport.

The deportation centre in Hamburg has been the subject of controversy for those on the right and on the left. Those on the right have criticised the fact that the facility has cost 2 million euros, yet only 84 migrants have been deported from it, so far. Those on the left reject deportations entirely.

While German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised to increase deportations last year, there are few signs of any changes. Recently, a deportation flight from Leipzig to Afghanistan was slammed by many after it was shown that the 180-seat plane was used to deport only 14 migrants.

Ally of Chancellor Merkel and leader of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) Horst Seehofer admitted that mass deportations of failed asylum seekers were “basically impossible”.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at) 


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