Thursday, 18 April, 2024

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Bill Gates Flew Economy Class For 10 Years After Becoming A Billionaire – Now He Owns Multiple Jets He Calls His ‘Guilty Pleasure’


Gates is a central figure in the tech and business sector, having transformed the technology landscape as the co-founder of Microsoft Inc. and becoming one of its most affluent individuals. He reached billionaire status in 1987, and by 1995, Forbes named him the world’s richest person, a distinction he held for most of the next two decades.

Despite his immense wealth, for the first 10 years as a billionaire, he chose to fly in economy class. Now, he owns a fleet of jets and is one of the most vocal climate activists.

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In the growth phase of the 1990s, Microsoft was gaining prominence. Gates, although wealthy, stuck to a strict policy mandating that Microsoft staff, including himself, fly economy for work-related travel. This rule was a reflection of Gates’ preference for a low-key image and his intent to set an example in his company.

During his less recognizable years, Gates could fly on commercial planes without drawing significant attention. It was not uncommon to find him deeply engrossed in a book or sleeping beneath a blanket on these flights.

With his role as Chairman and CEO of Microsoft, Gates faced the task of frequent global travel, which soon proved impractical with commercial flight schedules. He maintained his economy travel routine for over 10 years, which was a solid demonstration of his commitment to his company’s values and a modest way of life.

In 1997, Gates joined the elite ranks of billionaires and purchased a business jet, a Bombardier Challenger 604, with a price tag of approximately $21 million. Gates chose to use his personal funds to acquire the aircraft, rather than relying on Microsoft to foot the bill, even though the jet would primarily serve business purposes. This business jet provided Gates the flexibility and convenience he required for his extensive global travels, aligning him with other business magnates who had recognized the value of private jets.

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As reported by Simple Flying, Gates now owns an impressive fleet of at least four business jets. Valued at close to $200 million, his collection includes the elite Gulfstream G650. Beyond ownership, he also runs a private aviation management company and has channeled substantial investments into the largest business jet service provider globally.

Lately, Gates’s use of private jets has drawn scrutiny in conjunction with his vocal climate activism. Euro News reported he took 392 flights on private jets last year. In a February 2023 interview with BBC, when asked about the perceived contradiction, Gates defended his position, highlighting his considerable investment in Climeworks for carbon capture and his broader financial contributions to climate change solutions. Acknowledging his jets as a “guilty pleasure,” he insists that his proactive measures in environmental philanthropy more than offset his personal carbon footprint, positioning him as part of the solution in the ongoing battle against climate change.

Gates’s journey from modest travel to owning private jets mirrors the evolution of his business interests, which now include significant investments in environmental technology. Similarly, the opportunity to invest in startups, once a domain limited to the very wealthy or venture capitalists, has become more accessible. Today, platforms like StartEngine enable individual investors to contribute to startup ventures, democratizing the ability to support emerging technologies and potentially benefit from their success.

Credit: Yahoo Finance

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