Airline catering operator Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC) has signed a $40m joint venture agreement with FreshBox Farms, a brand of vertical farm operator Crop One Holdings.
As part of the agreement, the investment will be used to establish a vertical farming facility in Dubai.
Located in 130,000ft2 of space, construction of the new site will commence in November this year and is expected to be complete in one year.
Once operational, the facility will deliver its first products to EKFC’s customers, including 105 airlines and 25 airport lounges in December 2019.
EKFC chief executive officer Saeed Mohammed said: “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.
“By investing to build and operate the world’s largest vertical farming facility, 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 and together we look forward to delivering a best-in-class product and excellent value to our customers and stakeholders.”
The new site is expected to produce three US tons of leafy greens, which will increase Crop One’s leafy green production to a total of 5.3 tons per day by next autumn.
The facility will also offer quick delivery of fresh products within hours of harvest.
EKFC offers airline, events and VIP catering services, along with ancillary services including laundry, food production and airport lounge food & beverages.