Published February 12, 2013
High-flying Google wants to get in on the aviation game.
No, the search engine giant isn't developing the next generation of self-piloting 747s or upping its Street View game with autonomous drones. Instead, the Mountain View-based tech giant desperately needs a place to park its private fleet of jets. To accommodate its many planes, the company plans to build an $82 million facility in San Jose, Calif.
Having a private jet is one of the perks of being one of the richest people (and companies) in the world, but finding parking for it is no straightforward feat, especially when you have as many planes as the top brass at Google does.
Between founders Larry Page, Sergey Brin and executive chairman Eric Schmidt, the trio have a fleet estimated at eight jets -- and that doesn’t even include Google’s corporate fleet.
Until now, the company kept its planes at Moffett Federal Airfield. Not everyone has been pleased with that setup, however, including Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley, who believes Google was getting a sweetheart deal from NASA by paying only $3.7 million a year. Not looking to cause a ruckus, Google is now pushing plans to build its own facilities.
"While our base of operation at Moffett Field currently meets our needs, expansion is both limited and uncertain," Schmidt wrote in a letter endorsing the Signature project, according to MercuryNews.com. "[This] will provide us with long term hangar stability and the ability to grow our flight department in Silicon Valley."
The new plan is more palatable for locals. The deal would be a 50-year lease that spanned 29 acres and each private plane "would be a property tax generator," Mayor Chuck Reed told the Mercury News.
The proposed "Googleport" will also include its own executive terminal, multiple hangars, ramp space, aircraft, parking lot, retail shops and even office space. In all, the new facility would generate over $3 million in rent, fuel fees and taxes.
Fresh off a $1.4 billion renovation project, San Jose airport surely won't mind the extra income.