Google's Private Jet: A (Part-time) Shareholder's Concern

Jul. 7.06 | About: Alphabet Inc. (GOOG)

A Billionaire fight has broken out over Google’s private jet. The boys have been fighting over details like who has a bigger bed and where the bar will go, rather than worrying about gassing up a plane designed for 180 people and using it as a private jet.

As a once-in-a-while shareholder, I worry about the lack of perspective of people who are willing to spend this kind of money for fun. You cannot argue a legitimate business purpose to this, as much of the usual time advantage of having a private jet is destroyed by using one that requires a gate at a major airport.

Advantage number 2 of a private jet, being able to accomodate sudden changes in schedules, is ridiculous with a plane that costs $20,000 just to take off, plus another $10,000 an hour to remain airborne (fuel is about 35% of the cost of running a plane) and that, of course, is not including the cost of the plane itself.

A shareholder may wonder: “If they are willing to spend that kind of money to save perhaps an hour over flying commercial, how can I be sure they’re getting the best price on a copy machine?”

I’m also not too wild about the entire executive team all getting on one plane on a regular basis.