Sussex Police were alerted to Gatwick in line with “suspicious actions” of a man.
Bomb squad experts carried out a small controlled explosion and recovered “what appears to be a firearm” which was removed for forensic examination.
Passengers were evacuated from the North Terminal
Jerome Chauris, from Vendôme, is due to appear at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
Sussex Police said: “Jerome Chauris, 41, unemployed and of no fixed address, but from Vendôme, France, has been charged with possessing a dangerous article (an air rifle weapon) in any part of an aerodrome (Aviation Security Act 1982) and possessing a knife blade/sharp pointed article (a lock knife) in a public place (Criminal Justice Act 1988).”
UK airports, travel routes and ports remain on high alert following the Paris attacks that left 129 people dead , and many more injured.
Police have stressed there is no confirmation of a link with Gatwick.
Detective Superintendent Nick May said the Paris attacks had led to “heightened awareness around any such incident and it is best that we treat the matter in all seriousness”.
Prime Minister David Cameron said the UK terror threat level remains “severe”, but said the Paris bloodshed will prompt a review of security measures