Google Founders Get Prime Parking for Their Boeing and Gulfstreams
Pity the lower-class Silicon Valley billionaires. While their drivers have to battle traffic for an hour to get them to their private jets at public-use airports, The New York Times is reporting that Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have exclusive access to a NASA airport that is seven minutes from their offices. While Google isn't saying anything about the $1.3 million annual rent deal, which allows Page and Brin to land and park their Boeing 767-200 and two Gulfstream Vs at Moffet Field, NASA is claiming it's being done in the name of science, not convenience. "It was an opportunity for us to defray some of the fixed costs we have to maintain the airfield as well as to have flights of opportunity for our science missions," Steven Zornetzer, associate director for institutions and research at NASA's Ames Center, told the Times. "It seemed like a win-win situation."
In addition to paying the significant rent, Page and Brin let NASA put scientific hardware on the jets for special flights. The most recent was the use of the Gulfstreams to allow scientists to observe the Aurigid meteor shower on Aug. 31. AVweb and other outlets reported the flight but NASA only referred to the jet as being owned by "Silicon Valley entrepreneurs" and didn't mention the parking arrangement. The Silicon Valley gossip mill is working overtime with a lot of Google's neighbors apparently skeptical of the rationale for the deal. That's expected to put pressure on NASA to open up the base for other private jets.