From Elon Musk to Bill Gates, here are all of the notable tech billionaires who own private planes to jet themselves around the world
- Billionaires can afford to make lavish purchases beyond most people's means, varying from entire islands to trips to space to sports teams.
- Many billionaires in the tech industry have put their riches into oppulent modes of transportation, including private planes.
- Here are some of the tech billionaires who have spent their fortunes on private jets for fast and easy travel.
TOP VIDEOS FOR YOUBillionaires, like Richard Branson and Elon Musk, are often known for their crazy purchases. When you can afford to spend $80 million a year on average, you have the luxury of being able to drop millions for investments in items that the average person could never dream of.
AdvertisementA common purchase among billionaires are private planes. Having a private jet for quick and easy travel may be especially valuable for high-powered executives and investors who may need to be on the other coast that same day.
Here are some of the notable tech billionaires who own private jets:
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, owns a plane through his holding company, Poplar Glen.
Bezos' Gulfstream G650ER jet seats eight people, and cost an estimated $65 million.
Investor Mark Cuban owns three jets. The billionaire said in a 2017 interview that owning a private plane was his "all-time goal," because "the asset I value the most is time, and that bought me time."
Cuban actually put himself in the Guinness Book of World Records when he bought his first plane, a Gulfstream V jet, in 1999. His $40 million purchase set the record for the largest single internet transaction.
In addition to his Gulfstream V, Cuban owns two Boeing Business Jets. He purchased a Boeing 757 to act as the private transportation for the Dallas Mavericks, the NBA team he's owned since 2000. He also owns a 767 that he rents out for chartered flights.
Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates has said his private jet is his "guilty pleasure" and his "big splurge."
Gates reportedly owns a Bombardier BD-700 Global Express, a plane that can sit up to 19 people and costs an estimated $40 million.
Bill Gates isn't the only early Microsoft executive to purchase a private plane with his billions. Charles Simonyi, Hungarian software developer, oversaw the creation of Microsoft Office software until he left the company in 2002.
In addition to owning a 233-foot yacht, Simonyi also owns a Dassault Falcon jet. Flying in Earth's atmosphere hasn't been enough for Simonyi though: He's been on two trips to the International Space Station, in 2007 and 2009.
Oracle founder Larry Ellison is known for his opulent nature and oft unusual behavior. Ellison is an avid sailor and a licensed pilot. His son, David, is a stunt pilot who has been flying with his dad since he was 13.
Not only does Ellison own a Hawaiian island and and a yacht racing team, but he also owns two military fighter jets: a decommissioned Soviet MiG-29, and an SIAI-Marchetti S.211, previously used by the Italian air force. The US government has reportedly kept Ellison from flying the MiG-29 in the States, because it's "considered a firearm."
The late Steve Jobs once owned a Gulfstream V that seats up to 15 people. Apple gifted the private jet, and 10 million company shares, to Jobs in lieu of a pay raise in 2002.
Jobs' plane didn't leave the Apple family, however. Apple's revered head of product design, Jony Ive, bought the plane "at a significant discount" from the former CEO's widow, Laurene Powell Jobs. Ive helped Jobs to design the plane, and once joked that, "at least I don't have to redesign anything."
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has owned private planes since he launched his companies in the early 2000s. He once owned a 1994 model Dassault Falcon 900 with seating for 12, but records show it was up for sale in 2016. Musk now owns a Gulfstream G650ER.
Musk's private flight use became the center of controversy in January 2019. The CEO reportedly logged 150,000 miles in 2018 aboard his $70 million Gulfstream G650ER. Tesla paid $700,000 to cover Musk's extensive air travel.
Musk used to pilot when he was in the process of launching Tesla and SpaceX, but decided to stop flying planes because of his responsibilities to his kids and his companies. In a 2008 interview, Musk said he used to fly a Cold War-era Aero L-39 Albatros military jet, a six-seater Piper Meridian M500, and a Cessna Citation CJ2.
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson is well-known for his lavish investments in expensive toys, including a 74-acre Caribbean resort called Necker Island, a million-dollar underwater submarine, and an amphibious vehicle.
Branson owns a Dassault Falcon 50 EX, which he uses to fly to and from his private island in the British Virgin Islands. He previously had a Falcon 900 EX, but said he needed a smaller plane for life in Necker Island. For longer trips, Branson takes flights on Virgin Atlantic, his commercial airline company, so he can "spend time with the staff and passengers."
Branson's interests in sky travel are not limited to planes, though. He became the first man to cross the ocean in a hot air balloon in 1987, he flew 50 yards in an air glider in 2003, and plans to put tourists in space via his commercial spaceflight company, Virgin Galactic.
Google's massive growth has given its two founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, each a net worth of more than $50 billion. The two have invested heavily in a private fleet of planes through their shared holding company, Blue City Holdings.
The Google founders purchased their first plane in 2005: a Boeing 767-200 commercial airliner, which they bought from Australian airline Qantas for $15 million. They spent another $10 million on redesigning the interior to make it into a private jet that can hold 50 people.
It was reported in 2012 that the two Google cofounders, along with former CEO Eric Schmidt, own eight planes. The fleet includes two Gulfstream Vs, a Boeing 757, and a Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet fighter plane.
The Google cofounders don't just own private planes — they have their own private terminal as well, which they bought in 2013. The terminal is located at the San Jose International Airport and cost $82 million to construct. It's operated by Signature Flight Support, and can be used by other businesses and executives in the Silicon Valley area.
Google also operates a second airfield, through the company's real estate subsidiary Planetary Ventures LLC. They took the reins of Moffett Field in 2014 from NASA, who will lease it out to them for the next 60 years. Before that, Google's cofounders paid NASA an annual fee of more than $1 million to house their private jets in one of Moffett Field's hangars.
But Larry Page's interest in flying vehicles stretches beyond private jets. The Google cofounder has invested in two different startups — Kitty Hawk and Opener — that are both working on flying cars.
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