The Private Jet Collection of Bill Gates

The Private Jet Collection of Bill Gates

Bill Gates’ private aircraft flying has sparked a lot of controversy. The Microsoft co-founder turned climate crusader owns four private aeroplanes, which he refers to as his “guilty pleasure.” His collection is valued at around $200 million and includes two Gulfstream G650s. Furthermore, he recently made a multibillion-dollar investment in the world’s largest business jet service provider.

Controversial convenience

Bill Gates, the billionaire, has penned a book titled How To Avoid Climate Disaster. He admits to being a “imperfect messenger” because he lives in enormous residences and travels by private aircraft in it. According to a study done by Lund University in Sweden, Bill Gates flew 59 private jet flights in 2017, generating over 1,600 tonnes of CO2, compared to the global average of less than five tonnes per person.

Gates has justified his use of the exclusive mode of transportation, claiming that he balances his carbon emissions by purchasing clean aviation fuel and investing in carbon capture and storage. Gates claims that flying by private aircraft is his “guilty pleasure” after purchasing his first Bombardier BD-700 Global Express in 1997. But, more importantly, whatever aircraft does he own now that is causing such a stir?

Microsoft’s founder owns four private aeroplanes, according to Private Jet Charter. Part of his collection consists of not one, but two Gulfstream G650ERs, each worth close to $70 million. The other two are Bombardier Challenger 350s, which cost a fraction of a billion dollars each.

The G650s single chairs may be converted into beds to accommodate up to ten people.

The G650s single chairs may be converted into beds to accommodate up to ten people. Photo: Gulfstream

Individual registrations for GVIs

Two Gulfstream G650ERs, both hidden from public flight radar tracking sites, are the most recent additions to Gates’ private fleet. They are both less than four years old, having been manufactured in 2018, and they have replaced his previous two Bombardier 700 Global Express planes.

With a firm called MENTE LLC, one is registered as N887WM and the other as N194WM. William and Melinda met in 1987 and married in 1994, hence the WM stands for William and Melinda.

The G650 can accommodate 11 to 18 passengers, and the additional range edition has a range of 7,500 nautical miles (13,890 kilometres). It consumes around 450 gallons of gasoline per hour and has a top speed of Mach 0.90. In 2019, the jet set a new speed and distance record for a business jet, flying from Singapore to Tucson, Arizona, in 15 hours and 23 minutes.

The Gulfstream VIs, which are owned by Bill Gates, contain four sections for business, entertainment, and relaxation. The jet’s handcrafted leather seats convert to beds, sleeping up to ten passengers. Over 400 Gulfstream G650s are in service around the world. One of them belongs to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest man.

Through NetJets, Bill Gates also owns two Bombardier Challenger 350s. Photo: James via Flickr

NetJets provides Bombardiers

Gates owns Bombardier Challenger 350s through a joint venture with NetJets, which provides fractional ownership shares in private business aircraft. N769QS and N754QS are their registration numbers. The Challenger 350s boast the largest and quietest cabin in their class, with seating for ten people. It has a range of 3,200 nautical miles (5,900 kilometres) and a top speed of 0.83 Mach.

Bill Gates also owns a Eurocopter EC 135, which he uses to land at his Lake Washington floating helipad, as well as a tiny Cessna 208 Amphibian Caravan seaplane.

Investment in Signature Aviation

Meanwhile, early this year, Gates’ Cascade Investment partnered with Blackstone and private equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners to purchase Signature Aviation, the world’s largest private jet service provider, for $4.7 billion. While he mostly uses his own aeroplanes for work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, justifying business jet upkeep in terms of overall CO2 output may be more difficult.

What are your thoughts on Bill Gates’ private plane collection? Is it a guilty pleasure or an overabundance of emissions? Please let us know in the comments section below.

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Cover Photo Credit: Getty Images