The second largest airport in the French capital was evacuated following the shooting at around 8:30am (0730GMT) and both terminals were closed, airport authorities said.
“A man took a weapon from a soldier then hid in a shop in the airport before being shot dead by security forces,” interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told AFP.
He said no one was wounded in the incident. Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux is due to visit the facility, in Paris’ southern outskirts.
Brandet said demining operations were underway to determine if the man had explosives on him. He said nearly 3,000 people had been evacuated from the southern terminal alone but those in the other one had been “confined.”
Traffic to Orly has been “completely suspended,” France’s civil aviation authority said.
France is still in a state of emergency after a series of terror attacks, including the November 2015 massacre in Paris and a truck attack in Nice, in July last year. In mid-February, an Egyptian staged a machete attack in Paris’s Louvre museum before being shot and wounded.
The latest shooting comes weeks ahead of the first round of France’s two-stage presidential election, in which security is one of the main issues on voters’ minds.
“We had queued up to check in for the Tel Aviv flight when we heard three or four shots nearby,” witness Franck Lecam said.