The Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) has reportedly given its approval for the proposed acquisition of Asiana Airlines by Korean Air.

The approval follows after the South Korean flag carrier submitted documents last month to seek approvals for the acquisition from antitrust authorities in the EU and eight countries, including South Korea, the US, China and Japan.

With this approval, Turkey has become the first foreign country to clear the deal.

Korean Air spokesperson was quoted by Yonhap News Agency as saying: “We expect no major difficulties in receiving approval from the remaining eight countries for the merger of the two airlines, given that bigger merger deals went smoothly in the past.”

In addition to the aforementioned regulatory authorities, Korean Air Lines plans to submit acquisition-related documents to five more countries, notably the UK, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.

The submission will be merely to report news of the merger and not to seek approval.

Last November, Korean Air initially announced its plan to buy a 63.9% stake in Asiana in a $1.3bn deal.

Since March 2020, the two airlines have suspended most of their flights on international routes due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.