Image Credit: Reuters

Seoul: The head of Korean Air, who just resigned as the chief organiser of the 2018 Winter Olympics, was sued on Wednesday by his carrier’s pilots for allegedly demeaning their work.

The airline’s pilot union filed a defamation lawsuit with the Seoul district court against Cho Yang-Ho over a Facebook posting the chairman made in March, a Korean Air spokesman said.

Responding to a Korean Air pilot who backed a pay rise demand by detailing the complex preflight checks required of the cockpit crew, Cho posted that flying a modern passenger plane on autopilot was “easier than driving a car”.

“Don’t flaunt yourself too much. Even a dog would laugh. You are talking big as if you were a Lindbergh who crossed the Atlantic Ocean”, Cho wrote.

The posting infuriated Korean Air pilots already embroiled in a protracted wage dispute, and the union decided to take the matter to court.

The airline spokesman described the lawsuit as “irresponsible.”

Cho was already in the headlines Tuesday when he resigned as head of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games Committee, citing “critical financial issues” with Hanjin shipping which, like Korean Air, is part of the tycoon’s Hanjin Group.

Cho’s daughter Cho Hyun-Ah was jailed last year following a meltdown on board a Seoul-bound Korean Air flight that had just left the gate in New York.

As the plane was taxiing to the runway, Cho, sitting in first class, became enraged when a flight attendant served her some nuts in a bag, rather than on a plate.

She lambasted the chief steward over the behaviour of his cabin crew and then ordered the plane back to the gate so he could be ejected.

She was eventually convicted of hampering the plane’s operations and violence against cabin crew members.