The 39-year-old was killed by the security forces after attacking a patrol in the airport’s south terminal.
The airport has now partially reopened after what the authorities described as an extremely serious incident.
The man was involved in a shooting north of Paris earlier on Saturday. He had been reported as radicalised in the past, and was a police watch-list.
Orly – located 13km (8 miles) south of Paris – is the capital’s second-largest airport.
Scores of passengers were unable to disembark from aircraft that landed at Orly during the security operation. An estimated 3,000 passengers were evacuated.
How the Orly airport attack is affecting travel arrangements
A total of 833 passenger flights were expected to arrive and depart from Orly airport on Saturday
Police say that while the west terminal of the airport has reopened, the south terminal is likely to remain closed throughout Saturday and travellers should seek alternative arrangements
A growing number of flights have been cancelled with long delays expected at the west terminal despite it reopening
Some arrivals were diverted to Charles de Gaulle airport
“We were sitting in Hall Three when all of a sudden people started running and telling us to run with them,” Ellie Guttetter, 18, from the US said.
“The people running were passengers and flight attendants. It was pretty chaotic and everyone was panicking – it was scary.”
Another eyewitness, Meredith Dixon, described seeing panicked airline personnel, with no security or police personnel to usher people outside the airport complex.