SAN FRANCISCO – Google Inc. (GOOG) co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are reportedly paying $1.3 million a year so their Boeing 767 plane can take off, land and park at a NASA-managed airport located just a few minutes away from the Internet search leader's Silicon Valley headquarters.
The deal became effective Aug. 1, but NASA's Ames Research Center didn't announce the agreement until this week following reports that the large jet had been spotted at Moffett Federal Airfield located near Google's hometown of Mountain View.
The news raised concerns about noise problems in cities neighboring the former naval air station.
Moffett Field is normally off limits to private aircraft, but the space agency made an exception for Page and Brin in exchange for the right to carry scientists and their equipment on planes used by the two billionaires.
NASA already has taken advantage of the agreement to study the Aurigid meteor shower, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which reported the unusual arrangement between NASA and the Google co-founders Wednesday.
Page and Brin, both 34, are each worth nearly $17 billion, according to Forbes magazine's most recent rankings of the world's wealthiest people.
The men generally aren't ostentatious, but they indulged themselves by buying a Boeing 767-200, an airplane that typically carries 180 passengers and is three times larger than most executive jets.
Remodeling the plane to add extra amenities left it with a capacity for about 50 passengers, according to previously published interviews with Page.
Google first publicly expressed an interest in Moffett Field two years ago when it announced plans to build up to 1 million square feet of office space at the Ames Research Center and collaborate with NASA on various research projects.