SEOUL, Dec. 26 (Yonhap) — A local civic group asked the prosecution Friday to look into suspicions that government officials got free upgrades from the country’s top airline, Korean Air Lines Co., which is at the center of controversy over an air-rage incident.
Cho Hyun-ah, the eldest daughter of Korean Air chairman Cho Yang-ho, resigned earlier this month after a national uproar over her conduct aboard a Seoul-bound Korean Air flight at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
She ordered the cabin crew chief of the plane that was already on the taxiway to disembark because she was displeased with the way she was served her macadamia nuts — in an unopened pack instead of on a plate. She chastised the crew for not following the service manual for first-class passengers.
The flight, with some 250 other passengers aboard, had to return to the gate to deplane the purser, causing an 11-minute delay in its arrival at Seoul’s main gateway, Incheon International Airport.
The civic group’s move came after allegations surfaced that several ranking transportation ministry officials were bumped up to business class regularly for free.
“Such allegations could be interpreted as bribery,” People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy said in a press release, adding that Korean Air executives suspected of giving such privileges to ministry officials could face breach of trust charges.
The ministry said it will launch an internal inspection into the mounting allegations and will take appropriate disciplinary measures against those who received free upgrades.
Also Friday, a Seoul court issued an arrest warrant for a transport ministry official accused of leaking details of the ministry’s investigation into the incident to a Korean Air executive, saying his detention is necessary to prevent the destruction of evidence.
The transport ministry official surnamed Kim, who formerly worked for Korean Air, is suspected of having talked over the phone with the executive surnamed Yeo dozens of times over the three days following the start of the ministry’s probe into the incident on Dec. 8.
Source : Yonhap