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'Water Rage' Hobbles Korean Air-Delta Air Line Joint Venture
Fallout from Scandal
'Water Rage' Hobbles Korean Air-Delta Air Line Joint Venture
  • By Jung Min-hee
  • April 30, 2018, 12:52
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Korean Air canceled a decision to hold a joint press conference on the launch of a joint venture with Delta Air Lines in Seoul on April 24.
Korean Air canceled a decision to hold a joint press conference on the launch of a joint venture with Delta Air Lines in Seoul on April 24.

The so-called "water rage" involving Cho Hyun-min, a former director of Korean Air Lines who allegedly threw water in the face of a business partner, is even affecting the establishment of a joint venture between the company and Delta Air Lines of the US.

According to the airline industry on April 29, Korean Air canceled a decision to hold a joint press conference on the launch of a joint venture with Delta Air Lines in Seoul on April 24. The event was scheduled to disclose specific plans for the launch of the JV, which was approved by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on March 27. But it was cancelled even before its schedule was released to reporters.

A Korean Air official said, "Steve Sear, president of global sales for Delta Air Lines, was planned to visit Korea to hold a press conference about the establishment of the joint venture. But he canceled the visit as the press conference was scrapped.” He said the press conference would be rescheduled soon.

Experts in the airline industry believe that Korean Air canceled the press conference as it judged that it would inappropriate to hold it. given the escalating controversy over the misconduct of the owner family of Korean Air.

The Korean Air-Delta Air Line joint venture is a project that Korean Air has been working on for more than a year. In March of last year, Korean Air signed an MOU with Delta Air Lines to promote the joint venture and inked a formal agreement in June of that year. The US Department of Transportation approved the establishment of the joint venture in November last year, and the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport finally approved it on March 27.

Some observers say that the establishment of the Korean Air-Delta joint venture, which was scheduled to start operating in the first half of this year, may be delayed. This is because the corporate image of Korean Air was severely tarnished by the temper tantrum thrown by Cho Hyun-min, the younger daughter of Korean Air chairman Cho Yang-ho.

The entire ownrer family, including Korean Air president Cho Won-tae, the chairman's son, is under growing public pressure to step down.

The “water rage” incident was reported by major foreign media outlets. as was the case with the so-called “nut rage” incident in 2014 that involved Cho Hyun-ha, the chairman's elder daughter.