SEVEN passengers on the inaugural Ethiopian Airlines flight through Dublin claimed asylum at the airport's immigration gates.
The new service from Addis Ababa to Los Angeles stops in Dublin en route, and the maiden flight took place on Saturday.
It is understood that the passengers disembarked and made their way to Dublin Airport's immigration gates where they claimed asylum. They reportedly arrived at the desk without ID or travel documentation.
A spokeswoman for Ethiopian Airlines this morning insisted that all passengers on the flight had full legal documents when they boarded in Addis Ababa but said that the airline does not comment on individual cases.
"Ethiopian Airlines has been operating for over 40 years in Europe and Dublin is its 11th City. We only carry passengers with full legal documents and appropriate visas.
"We also carry out extra checks when in doubt and take guidance from appropriate immigration teams of the destination country we operate to, if needed," she said.
An event to mark the airline's first flight through Dublin had been taking place at the Departures gate, a DAA spokeswoman said.
"Separately, downstairs, apparently passengers had declared asylum, but that's a matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau."
A Justice Department spokesman said it is "a regular occurrence that claims for asylum be made by persons arriving at Dublin airport".