1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

German man stuck 2 months in Indian airport

May 12, 2020

A 41-year-old German man has finally left the airport in New Delhi after being in limbo there for almost two months. The case echoes the plot of a Hollywood film.

Indira Gandhi International Airport
Image: picture-alliance/imageBroker/F. Bienewald

A German man has spent two months living in the transit area of the Indian capital's airport, trapped between India's coronavirus restrictions and the fear of prosecution at home.

The man, who had wanted to fly from Hanoi to Istanbul via New Delhi, was prevented from embarking on the last leg of his flight when India imposed restrictions amid the coronavirus crisis.

Although the German Embassy informed him how he could return to his home country on evacuation flights, the man did not want to take advantage of the opportunities, fearing prosecution for criminal offences, an Indian airport official told DPA news agency.

Read more: Countries scramble to retrieve tourists stranded in Asia

Fed, clothed and watered

He also did not apply for an Indian visa, which he would not have received anyway because of his possible criminal activities, the official said, adding that the man wanted to travel on from Turkey to Saudi Arabia.

German authorities were in contact with those in India regarding the man's case, the official said, but they have declined to say anything about his possible criminal past.

During the weeks spent at the airport, he was given food, drink, toothpaste, fresh clothing and even a mosquito net by Indian authorities. The official said he spent his time mostly on the internet, on the phone with family and friends or reading magazines and newspapers.

Read more: How a tireless pilot is flying stranded Germans home

Negative coronavirus test

The man finally set off for Europe on Tuesday morning on a KLM plane on a repatriation flight headed for Amsterdam, according to the official.

This was confirmed by Indian police sources cited by news outlet India Today: "A German national who was stranded at the transit area of Delhi airport for the past 55 days due to lockdown, left India yesterday by KLM flight to Amsterdam. He tested negative for coronavirus before boarding."

The story resembles the plot of the film "The Terminal" by Steven Spielberg starring Tom Hanks, whose plot revolves about a man stuck at New York's JFK Airport for months because his home country is in the grips of a civil war and he is not able to enter the US as a suddenly stateless person.

Whether the story of the German man also has a happy ending like the film remains to be seen.

Every day, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. Sign up for the newsletter here.