Heather Cho, the daughter of Korean air chief executive Cho Yang-Ho, will face a criminal investigation into the so-called ‘nut rage’ incident which has scandalised the airline in recent days.
Officials in the South Korea transport ministry confirmed they will also take disciplinary measures against the airline.
The move comes after Ms Cho ordered a steward be removed from a Korean Air flight on December 5th.
Ms Cho, as head of cabin services with the airline, was enraged after being served nuts in a bag, not on a plate.
The incident has sparked a major backlash in South Korea.
Following the demand, the plane returned to the gate so the steward could be offloaded.
The flight then proceeded on its journey from New York to Incheon.
Despite her public apology and resignation from her position, the ministry argues she “may have violated Article 23 of the Aviation Safety Law, which requires the co-operation of passengers on a flight”.
The ministry also said it would examine whether the airline’s corporate culture posed a safety risk to passengers.
Korean Air could face either a partial flight ban or a fine, the ministry added.