Emirates Flight Catering goes vertical

DUBAI, 27 June 2018: Emirates Flight Catering and Crop One will co-invest USD40 million to build the world’s largest vertical farming facility near Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central.

The project is a joint venture with US-based Crop One Holdings, the world’s leading vertical farm operator.

Emirates Airline and Group chairman and chief executive, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said: “Today’s announcement is an important milestone for the Emirates Group, for Dubai, and for the UAE. This investment to build and operate the world’s largest vertical farming facility aligns with the UAE’s drive for more agricultural self-sufficiency.”

“As one of the world’s largest airline catering operations, Emirates Flight Catering constantly looks at innovation, and ways to improve our productivity, product and service quality.  Introducing the latest technology to our operations, we secure our own supply chain of high quality and locally sourced fresh vegetables, while significantly reducing our environmental footprint. We are pleased to partner with Crop One, the industry’s leading grower, packer and distributor, and a successful company that shares our corporate values.  Together we look forward to delivering a best-in-class product and excellent value to our customers and stakeholders,” said Emirates Flight Catering chief executive officer Saeed Mohammed.

When complete, the vertical farm facility will cover 130,000 square feet, but have a production output equivalent to 900 acres of farmland.

At full production, the facility will harvest three US tons (2,700 kg) of high-quality, herbicide-free and pesticide-free leafy greens daily, using 99% less water than outdoor fields. The proximity of the farm to the point of consumption also substantially reduces carbon emissions associated with transportation. It will also ensure the quick delivery of the fresh products, reaching customers within hours of harvest, maintaining high nutritional value.

The construction of the facility is scheduled to start in November 2018 and will take approximately one year to complete. The first products are expected to be delivered to Emirates Flight Catering’s customers, including 105 airlines and 25 airport lounges, in December 2019.