Emirates To Set Up Dedicated Kosher Food Facility

Emirates Flight Catering, the catering subsidiary of Dubai-based Emirates Airlines, announced today that it will set up a specialist Kosher food facility at its base in the United Arab Emirates. The catering company will be working in partnership with CCL Holdings to form a joint operation called Kosher Arabia. Kosher Arabia will work alongside a Union of Orthodox Synagogues to ensure all food meets the specific requirements. Production will begin in January 2021.

Emirates limited flights in May
Emirates will open a dedicated kosher food facility in the UAE. Photo: Emirates

Emirates Flight Catering provides meals for over 100 airlines around the world. The UAE-based company has been providing Kosher meals for a while now, but they’ve always been outsourced to other companies and limited in choice. Now, all that is about to change.

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A new partnership

The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with CCL Holdings, a company founded by the head of the Jewish Council in the UAE. Emirates Flight Catering will prepare the food at a special facility on their existing premises. However, CCL will certify the food and ingredients as well as help with production and sourcing.

When discussing the reason for the new venture, Saeed Mohammed, CEO of Emirates Flight Catering, said,

“We’ve been watching the global trends for kosher food, and with recent developments, we expect that demand for kosher food in the UAE and region will grow quickly. Our partnership will cover all food channels, and we will also explore opening restaurants across Dubai and the GCC.”

Emirates kosher MOU
Emirates Flight Catering and CCL Holdings signed the understand to create Kosher Arabia. Photo: Emirates Flight Catering

In response, Ross Kriel, founder of CCL Holdings, and President of the Jewish Council of the Emirates said,

Kosher Arabia was set up to supply kosher food to meet the growing demand in the UAE, not only from the Jewish community here but also from other consumers looking for healthy and halal-compliant options. We’re honoured to have received so much support from the UAE and broader global community.”

Support from the community

The move has received praise and support from many vital religious figures including, Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, Chief Rabbi of the UAE, Rabbi Yissachar Krawowski, Rabbinic Coordinator for OU Kosher in Israel, and South Africa’s Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein.

The new levels of cooperation may indicate that airlines are preparing for new routes connecting the UAE to Israel. The first flight between the two countries took place at the end of August, operated by El Al Israel.

Emirates, Boeing 777, Business class
Emirates Flight Catering provides meals to over 100 airlines. Although the kosher facility will cater for flights to Israel to start with, this may expand. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Flights to Israel?

Emirates has yet to declare plans to offer flights between the two countries officially, but today’s announcement shows it is keenly aware of the growing ties between the nations. Emirates Flight Catering has said production should begin in January 2021. This could indicate that direct commercial flights will commence shortly after.

Although it’s thought that kosher meals from the facility will only be available on flights directly between the UAE and Israel, this may expand in the future. Emirates Flight Catering is one of the biggest catering companies in the world. It served over 80 million meals in 2019 across 100 airlines. If the program is a success, we may see kosher options available on other routes in the future.

What do you think of the new cooperation between the two nations? Will we see commercial flights in the near future? Let us know your opinion in the comments section.