S. Korea to report ex-Korean Air executive Heather Cho involved in flight delay to prosecutors

Former executive Heather Cho, daughter of Korean Air Lines chairman Cho Yang Ho, appears in front of the media outside the offices of the Aviation and Railway Accident Investigation Board of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, in Seoul o
Former executive Heather Cho, daughter of Korean Air Lines chairman Cho Yang Ho, appears in front of the media outside the offices of the Aviation and Railway Accident Investigation Board of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, in Seoul on Dec 12, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (REUTERS) - South Korea's transport ministry said on Tuesday it would report to prosecutors a former Korean Air Lines executive, who delayed a flight earlier this month because she was unhappy about how she was served nuts, for possible legal charges.

A ministry official said its probe has confirmed the former executive, Heather Cho, was engaged in abusive behaviour towards flight attendants in the incident at John F. Kennedy airport in New York and may have broken aviation law.

"As it has been confirmed through testimonies of some crew members and passengers of the flight that the former vice president of Korean Air used violent language in a loud voice, the ministry believes she may have violated Article 23 of the Aviation Safety Law, which requires the cooperation of passengers on a flight, and we will file a complaint with the prosecution before the day's end," the ministry said in a statement, according to Yonhap news agency.

The transport ministry's move comes after the prosecution said it will summon Cho for questioning.

Cho, 40, is the daughter of the airline's chairman. She resigned her posts last week after news of her conduct sparked public outrage.

Displeased with being served macadamia nuts in a bag and not a dish in the first class cabin on board a Korean Air flight at JFK airport, Cho forced the pilot to return to the gate to expel its cabin crew chief.

The Airbus A380 arrived at Incheon, near Seoul, 11 minutes behind schedule.

The transport ministry found the captain of the flight at fault for the delay, reported Yonhap.

"The captain's failure to command and supervise flight crew members for the safe operation of the flight is in violation of the Aviation Safety Law Article 115," it said, adding that the government will take its own disciplinary measure against Korean Air. This may result in a suspension of business or a fine.