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
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)
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(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." (Read more Google stories.)

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