Government Gave Google Execs Deal on Jet Fuel

But report from NASA's IG says it was an accident

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 12, 2013 7:35 AM CST

(Newser) – Private jet fuel is expensive, people. Luckily, Google's top execs were able to get a nice fat discount on it—via Uncle Sam. The latest government oops amounts to an unintentional $3.3 million to $5.3 million in savings over six years, per a new review by NASA's inspector general out yesterday. The backstory: Since 2007, Google has kept its fleet at a NASA-run airfield near its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters; as part of the deal allowing it to do so, it agreed to facilitate free flights for NASA related to its climate research; CNBC reports more than 200 such flights occurred.

What was supposed to happen: Google execs were given the OK to buy cheaper fuel for those government-related flights. What actually happened: They were able to buy it for use on private flights as well. (The fuel payday ended Aug. 31.) The IG chalks it up to a "misunderstanding" rather than purposeful misconduct, reports Marketwatch, and the report makes clear the government didn't take a hit on the fuel it sold. Still, H211, the company that operates the planes for Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt, "nevertheless received a monetary benefit to which it was not entitled." The IG advised NASA to talk to H211 about "possible options to remedy the situation."

A Navy P-3 plane is on display in front of a hanger at Moffett Field in Mountain View, Calif., where Google keeps its jets.
A Navy P-3 plane is on display in front of a hanger at Moffett Field in Mountain View, Calif., where Google keeps its jets.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Sergey Brin wears Google Glass glasses at an announcement for the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences at Genentech Hall on UCSF’s Mission Bay campus in San Francisco, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013.
Sergey Brin wears Google Glass glasses at an announcement for the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences at Genentech Hall on UCSF’s Mission Bay campus in San Francisco, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
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