Korean Air Chief Promises to Reform Business Culture

      January 06, 2015 10:13

      Cho Yang-ho

      Korean Air chairman Cho Yang-ho apologized to the public again on Monday over the "nut rage" incident that has landed his daughter in jail and vowed to reform the carrier is run.

      "I am perfectly willing to accept the public's criticism, admit our mistakes and take meaningful steps to rectify things," Cho said. Hanjin Group, which owns the carrier, and Korean Air "will be reborn."

      The carrier's New Year's celebrations took place under a cloud as around 300 managers gathered at headquarters in western Seoul. Cho's voice shook as he spoke about the incident triggered by his daughter. After pausing to compose himself, Cho said, "I offer my deepest apology."

      Heiress Cho Hyun-ah exposed the carrier to global ridicule late last year when she threw a tantrum on a plane at JFK International Airport in New York because she was served a bag of nuts incorrectly, and then forced the aircraft to taxi back to the terminal and let the purser disembark.

      She has spent the New Year in jail on suspicion of obstructing flight operations and putting passengers at risk. She also faces allegations of assaulting cabin staff.

      In the aftermath of the incident, Korean Air executives bent over backwards to get their boss’ daughter out of trouble, and one of them has also been arrested.

      Cho senior struggled to come up with a suitable form of words for his New Year's address but now apparently accepts that the future of the carrier is at risk unless it cleans up its rigid, top-down hierarchy. 

      Meanwhile, Cho Hyun-ah has been moved to a cell she will share with four or five other prisoners after spending what prosecutors described as an orientation period in a holding pen.

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