Techies and aviation enthusiasts alike are following the story that broke on Feb. 8. Signature Aviation announced a proposal to build a terminal dedicated private jets at recently updated Mineta San Jose International Airport. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the $82 million project will add to the airport’s west side. Signature Aviation will partner with Blue City Holdings, an LLC that manages Google executives’ jets, to construct a 29-acre business jet hub. The city council will vote in April to determine the future of the proposal.
The Google jets need a home! However, Google doesn’t actually own them; the three top dogs at the Internet giant do. Google’s co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and CEO Eric Schmidt reportedly own a total of eight aircraft, and they intend to house them at the proposed terminal. We could only find record of these five. Anybody know what the other three are?
- Boeing 767-200
- 2 Gulfstream Vs
- Boeing 757
- Dornier Alpha fighter jet
The lodging for these jets has been slightly controversial. Since 2007, the Google brass has leased space from NASA under the company name H211. H211 manages the jets at their current home, Moffett Field, which is owned and operated by NASA Ames Research Center. For $1.3 million per year, H211 uses the facilities here, including the historic hangars. Built in 1931, the 8-square-acre Hangar One is one of the largest free-standing buildings in the world. It was originally constructed to accommodate the massive airship USS Macon.
But Hangar One is in trouble. About 10 years ago, scientists discovered that Hangar One was leaking toxic chemicals (PCBs, lead, and asbestos) into the nearby wetlands. So H211 executives made an offer in December 2011 to pay $33 million to refurbish the historic site, with the condition that they would lease the hangar for their exclusive use. The total deal was estimated at $44 million. Industry insiders believe that the new proposal with Signature Aviation to build the facility at Mineta San Jose International Airport means that the offer for Hangar One was rejected by NASA and the White House.
And with no funding from NASA or the Department of Defense, it looks like the future for Hangar One is still up in the air.