Inside Bill Gates’ Controversial $194 Million Private Jet Collection

Bill Gates is one of the richest people in the world, and he even has an entire collection of private jets. But the tech billionaire’s fleet of private planes has garnered criticism from fans. Here’s what we know about Gates’ airplane collection and why it’s so controversial.  

Bill Gates, who owns a collection of private jets, smiles and poses at an event.
Bill Gates | Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Bill Gates has a private jet collection worth approximately $194 million

In June 2021, Simple Flying reported that Microsoft founder Bill Gates has not just one, not two, not even three, but four private jets. He has two Gulfstream G650ERs, which the publication said cost about $70 million each. He also has two Bombardier Challenger 350s, which are approximately $27 million apiece. Some quick math tells us that Gates’ private jet collection cost around $194 million – and that’s before the price of fuel, maintenance, staff, etc. 

Gates’ two Gulfstream G650ERs were built in 2018 and replaced his previous two Bombardier 700 Global Express jets. Their registration numbers are N887WM and the other as N194WM, with the WM likely standing for William and Melinda, Bill Gates’ full first name and the name of his ex-wife. Melinda divorced the tech founder in 2021after over 25 years of marriage. She cited Gates’ ties to Jeffrey Epstein as one of the reasons for the divorce. 

Inside Bill Gates’ 4 private jets 

Each of Bill Gates’ Gulfstream G650ERs can fit up to 18 passengers. They have four separate areas for work, relaxation, and recreation. The custom leather seats turn into beds, and each jet can sleep up to 10 people. 

The Gulfstream G650ER holds the record for the fastest and farthest business jet. Gates’ fellow billionaire, Jeff Bezos, owns the same model, as does reality star Kim Kardashian

Gates’ owns the two Bombardier Challenger 350s through his partnership with NetJets, “a company that sells fractional ownership shares in private business jets” (per Simple Flying). The registration numbers for Gates’ Bombardier Challengers are N769QS and N754QS. The jets boast “the largest and quietest cabin in its class” and can accommodate up to 10 passengers. 

In addition to his collection of private jets, the Microsoft founder also owns a Eurocopter EC 135 and a Cessna 208 Amphibian Caravan seaplane.

Bill Gates has called private jets his ‘guilty pleasure’

The tech billionaire’s collection of private jets has stirred up controversy due to the planes’ impact on the environment. Bill Gates has been one of the most vocal influencers regarding environmental protection. In his book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, Gates called himself an “imperfect messenger on climate change.” 

“I am aware that I’m an imperfect messenger on climate change. The world is not exactly lacking in rich men with big ideas about what other people should do, or who think technology can fix any problem,” Gates wrote (per Goodreads). “And I own big houses and fly in private planes – in fact, I took one to Paris for the climate conference – so who am I to lecture anyone on the environment?”

He added, “I can’t deny being a rich guy with an opinion. I do believe, though, that it is an informed opinion, and I am always trying to learn more.”

And in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” forum from several years ago, Gates called owning private planes his “guilty pleasure.” He justified it by explaining, “I do get to a lot of places for Foundation work I wouldn’t be able to go to without it.”

Gates isn’t the only billionaire getting slammed for his frivolous use of private jets and the effect on the environment. Fellow private jet owner Jeff Bezos also drew criticism for taking his Gulfstreams to the UN’s 2021 COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. And reality star Kylie Jenner recently came under fire for taking frequent, short flights on her private jet.

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