Dubai South has announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Collaboration with Emirates Flight Catering. Under the agreement, Emirates Flight Catering will expand its operations in the aviation district to build the world's largest vertical farm in a joint venture with Crop One Holdings. A release from the Emirates News Agency stated that the facility, which will cover 130,000 square feet, represents an investment of AED146.8 million (US$40 million).
Today's announcement marks an important milestone in the two companies' long-standing partnership. Emirates Flight Catering already operates a transit restaurant and has also opted to establish its new ventures at Dubai South.
Commenting on the MoU, Khalifa Suhail Al Zaffin, Executive Chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation, said, "The construction and operations of the world's largest vertical farm in Dubai South will benefit the district and airlines flying from Al Maktoum International Airport and Dubai International Airport, where Emirates Flight Catering is considered one of the leading partners in the aviation industry. The location of the farm in the Aviation District will ensure quick delivery and high quality of the produce."
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.
For his part, Saeed Mohammed, CEO of Emirates Flight Catering, said, "As one of the world's largest airline catering operations, we are constantly looking at ways to improve our productivity, product and service quality. Building our vertical farming facility in the Aviation District we will deliver our fresh products from farm to fork within hours of harvest, while significantly reducing our environmental footprint. We look forward to continuing our fruitful partnership with Dubai South."
At full production, the vertical farm facility will harvest 2,700 kg of high-quality, herbicide-free and pesticide-free vegetables every day, using 99 per cent less water than traditional farms. The proximity of the farm to the point of consumption will substantially reduce carbon emissions associated with transportation. It will also ensure quick delivery of the fresh products, reaching customers within hours of harvest, maintaining high nutritional value.