Original Link: http://www.wired.com/business/2013/04/private-jet-terminal-for-google-founders/
This week, a little-noticed vote by the San Jose City Council paved the (run)way for one of the sweetest perks in the history of the tech industry. Call it Terminal G.
Google’s top three executives already have a Boeing 757 and this Boeing 767 among the private jets in their collection. Now they’ll be able to board them in plebian-free bliss at their own private terminal at Mineta San Jose International Airport.
The 29-acre development on the airport’s west side won’t be entirely private: Other private jet owners will also have access. But Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and international nerd of mystery Eric Schmidt will certainly be the most prominent regulars.
The City Council’s 10-1 vote approved a 50-year lease agreement with Signature Flight Support, a white-shoe service provider for government, military and private air travel. Signature is partnering on the $82 million facility with Blue City Holdings, which airport officials describe as a Mountain View, California-based corporation “representing the personal aircraft of the principals at Google.”
The San Jose Mercury News reports that five of seven hangars planned for the site will house Google aircraft. The deal also means about $3 million in annual rent and fees for Mineta San Jose, which despite its Silicon Valley location has struggled as the Bay Area’s off-brand airport. The Google jets are reportedly parked now at NASA-owned Moffett Field, where their lease is set to expire.
The Google’s founders jets have long been a magnet for conflict.
Residents near the San Jose airport are worried the new terminal will generate extra noise. Noise was also the issue when NASA took the unusual step of giving private aircraft access to Moffett.
Depending on Google’s results today when it reports its latest quarterly earnings, some shareholders might complain about the company’s leaders taking part in such a lavish undertaking. But they’ll have little recourse, since the planes aren’t owned by the company.
Years ago, Page and Brin apparently even argued about the relative size of their beds on the 767.
While such spats sound like typically frivolous rich-person pouting, the image of the legendary co-founders fighting over how to pimp their private plane doesn’t exactly comport with Silicon Valley’s image of itself. Yes, Steve Jobs once took a $40 million private jet as a bonus on top of his $1 salary. But in a tech subculture that likes to think it sees merit and skill as the measures of a person, not the size of that person’s bank account or toys, a private air terminal stands out as remarkably conspicuous example of conspicuous consumption.
The jokes are already flying about Facebook getting jealous. But maybe posh air travel is not as much a part of Facebook’s DNA. Though he no longer works for the company, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz is at least one billionaire who says he still flies coach.