A former Korean Air executive who was jailed following a "nut rage" incident on board one of the airline's flights has been released.

Cho Hyun-ah, who is the daughter of the airline's chairman, made international headlines after she ordered a flight attendant off a taxiing plane over how she was served some macadamia nuts.

The former airline executive, also known as Heather Cho, was sentenced to one year in jail for obstructing aviation safety following the incident New York's JFK Airport on 5 December.

Seoul High Court has altered the conviction to using violence against flight attendants after ruling she did not violate aviation security law after getting outraged when the attendant served her nuts in a bag instead of a dish.

The court also reduced Cho's sentence to 10 months suspended for two years, triggering her immediate release.

The court said the decision was made as it was Cho's first offence and cited her "internal change" in behaviour while she served her time in prison.

The incident has reignited a debate in South Korea about family-run business known as chaebol, who many feel act as if they are above the law.

"If she was released because she showed repentance, other criminals should be equally released," said 19-year-old college student Kim Ryeong-hui. "I think the court went easy on her. I feel angry when people mistreat other people in lower ranks."