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Home / Business / What Elon Musk's personal flight records can tell about Tesla's "tormenting" year?

What Elon Musk's personal flight records can tell about Tesla's "tormenting" year?



The corporate jet of Tesla boss Elon Musk flew more than 150,000 miles or more than six times around the world last year. He raced between the outposts of his futuristic empire during his "most difficult and painful year" of his career, as recorded by the Washington Post's flight records. The billionaire's frequent trips on a private plane were the financially-burning automaker Tesla, which was responsible for billions of dollars and sacked thousands of employees last year, including seven percent of its workforce this month.

Musk's Jet recorded more than 250 flights for its work, pet projects and vacations in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East in a year in which it said its electric car giant had up to $ 100 million a week lost and staggered on the brink of collapse.

Musk's relentless schedule has been reduced by a modicum of comfort and luxury, but the ultimate can afford it. Some flights were recreational stays for Musk or his family, while others moved the plane from one side of Los Angeles to the other to help Musk shorten his commute.

The Company Will Ask Questions About Its Expenditure When It Releases Its Aircraft Annual Results Review and investors will be watching closely to see if Tesla will make a profit despite a steep decline at the start of the year.

The hustle and bustle of air traffic was an important part of Musk's journey to becoming a worldwide celebrity as suddenly his attention could switch between his ambitious car-racing ventures in California, Nevada batteries, Chicago tunnels and rockets in Florida.

It gives an insight into the wild life of the most polarizing tech superstar in the US, highlighting the chaos of A year devastating his enemies as idiots and pedophiles, smoking weeds during a live interview and being sued by federal authorities, who accused him of misleading investors – a step that cost him his chairmanship of Tesla's board of directors.

However, it also reveals an uncomfortable momentum for one of the world's most recognizable crusaders for renewable energy: in September, just days after fossil fuels were dubbed "the stupidest experiment in human history," its plane burned thousands of kilos of jet fuel, flew 300 miles from LA to Oakland, allowing Musk to pursue a competitive video game event. (Tesla said Musk went to the video game event with these kids, but also met with a Tesla board member and worked in two Tesla offices in Fremont before he flew home.)

"We know That the dead will run out to us dinosaurs that need to be fueled and will eventually need to use sustainable energy, "Musk tweeted in November on the day his jet flew over Mexico, which was a personal journey, according to Tesla. "So why not become renewable now and avoid the growing risk of a climate catastrophe?"

Musk was not provided for comment, but a Tesla spokesman said his heavy air traffic was an indispensable part of doing business. "Until we can teleport, unfortunately, there is no alternative that allows him to do his job so effectively," said spokesman Dave Arnold. Musk is worth more than $ 20 billion, but his companies have paid the bills for the jet fuel. Maintenance, crew and other expenses. In a financial filing filed in June, Tesla said Musk's rocket company SpaceX operated the aircraft and Tesla sent a flight worth approximately $ 700,000 in 2017.

The company said that Tesla does not cover the cost of personal travel Musk, and the rating of Musk, SpaceX and Tesla flights and arrange who pays for each trip. The company declined to provide an estimate of Musk's flight costs last year as data shows that the jet's air traffic has increased. Tesla said it also covers the cost of a second aircraft owned by Musk and paid $ 46,000 in 2017.

Although Musk often laments the "soul-destroying traffic" as inspiration for his business interests in high-speed tunnels and himself When driving cars, he has talked little about his secret weapon because he bypassed it: a Gulfstream G650ER from 2015, the is sold for around $ 70 million. It is one of the fastest and largest executive aircraft in the world. Only a few hundred were made.

The post office received the flight details from an industry representative who provided them on condition of anonymity and confirmed details under the Federal Aviation Administration's Freedom of Information Act. The data do not show who was aboard during the flights, but aspects of Musk's travels were confirmed by his appearances, interviews and tweets in public.

Musk is by no means the only corporate leader who relies on the speed, flexibility and privacy of flying around the world in a private plane, and his senior role as chief executive, visionary and hype man helps to explain several companies why he would rely so much on getting around. (Tesla denied the description of Musk as "Hype Man" and said he should instead be called a "practical problem solver", which would explain why he travels so much.)

But also compared to his peers, Musk's Journey stands out. Amazon founder Jeffrey P. Bezos – another tech billionaire on the West Coast with worldwide operations and the same type of Gulfstream jets – flew 100 fewer flights than Musk last year, according to a post analysis. (Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

Apple, which scored 19 times as much revenue as Tesla in 2017, paid around $ 93,000 for Chief Tim Cook to fly with private planes – a fraction of the $ 700,000 that Tesla spent this year.

Charles Elson, director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, said Musk's travels are symptomatic of a troubled leadership culture in which public shareholders pay for the high-profile travels of their company's "superstar". "

" Can tribe and file use the corporate airplane for the holidays? Can master and file use company property for personal purposes? Of course not. They are Tesla, as much as he is, "Elson said. "This company has some real financial problems and (he) spends other people's money."

Musk has described 2018 as a year of torment for companies he said oscillated between "life and death." The survival of the company, he said, was largely due to his Herculean workload and sacrifice, including sleeping in the Tesla factory hall and the 120-hour workweek. "As hard as it was for his employees," he said to "60 Minutes," "I would make it worse for myself."

But the flight records reveal some gaps in Musk's self-assessment of a perennially "agonizing" year. In a recent New York Times interview last summer, Musk said he had spent his 47th birthday in the Tesla factory without interruption, "all night – no friends, nothing" before flying to his brother's wedding in Spain and He said he had arrived shortly before the ceremony and left immediately afterwards to return to work.

However, the interview did not mention that Musk left the ceremony on the Spanish coast and flew to Northern Ireland where he filmed the film set for the HBO fantasy epic "Game of Thrones" with his children and ate in a local Belfast for local media reports evening. ("Belfast is beautiful," Musk tweeted after the trip.) This trip took place three weeks after Tesla's announcement that Tesla would lay off about 3,500 employees or 9 percent of his workforce as part of a restructuring he called "difficult but necessary ".

A Tesla official said it was the characterization of the Times, not Musk, that he left immediately thereafter, but Musk stopped attending wedding celebrations scheduled for several days.

The jet is on a Registered SpaceX subsidiary named Falcon Landing, named after its reusable rocket, is showing Federal Aviation Administration records, and Musk or its employees have taken another step, common among senior executives, to request that the voyage not be recorded in public flight databases

Many of the flights started or landed at Van Nuys Airport in LA, a short drive from the Bel Air Tony area, where Musk owns five different villas, on a ride to its jet in August, Musk said Times, he has tweeted, Tesla have taken the "financing" as private – a market-shattering promise, which ultimately zusammenamme Later, Musk and Tesla agreed to pay a $ 40 million settlement and to introduce new safeguards to settle a case of the Securities and Exchange Commission, alleging that Musk was asking investors about its prospects Deals are misleading.

Musk-Jet flew about 75 times to San Jose Airport last year. the next stop near Tesla's headquarters in Palo Alto and the automobile factory in Fremont, where Musk often said he was so busy sleeping between the machines. Dozens of other flights were made to airports near the headquarters of SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, and the battery-powered Gigafactory outside Reno, Nevada.

Tesla said Musk never used the plane to fly between locations in Los Angeles. But the jet would pick him up at a nearby airport, for example, when he started his day at the SpaceX office on the south side of Los Angeles and the plane was on the north side, the company said. Some of these repositioning flights went back only about 20 miles, the aircraft data show.

Musk's travels could be a whirlwind of business activity, with his role changing rapidly from one company to another. In early June, Musk flew to a SpaceX office near Seattle, where he fired a number of senior officials working on a satellite project, unnamed company employees told Reuters. Flight records show that Musk returned to California shortly thereafter and flew to Chicago within days to join forces with Mayor Rahm Emanuel for a state-sponsored tunnel system built by Musk's new tunnel transit company The Boring Company ,


Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel talks to engineering and technology entrepreneur Elon Musk of The Boring Company about building a high-speed transit tunnel. (Joshua Lott / Getty Images)

But the jet also allowed Musk to skip commercial air travel when he took a break. In the first three months of 2018, a quarter in which Tesla's investor pressure came under pressure and the company burned more than $ 1 billion in cash, the jet flew over 50,000 miles, including a holiday in Chile, touring the Set for the HBO Robodrama "Westworld" in Texas and a spring holiday trip with his children to Jordan and Israel.

In May, a few days after scolding financial analysts for what he calls "boring bone questions" about Tesla's spending, Musk took the jet to New York, where he met his then-girlfriend, electronic musician Grimes, the dazzling Met Gala visited.

On Musk's most notorious trip last summer, just days after his return from his brother's wedding, he flew to Thailand to deliver a mini-submarine, of which he said he could help one in a sunken state Cave rescue caged youth football team. The ship was not used in the rescue, but shortly after his return home, Musk told his millions of Twitter followers that a rescuer who had criticized Musk's Mini-Sub was a pedophile. This volunteer, Vernon Unsworth, has sued Musk in an ongoing trial. Musk's attorneys defended the statements as having emerged from a "schoolyard spit" on social media.

Musk's Jet soared as his companies faced increasing pressure from Tesla shareholders over the company's liquidity, which amounted to several hundred million dollars a month. In June, when Tesla fired nine percent of his workforce, Musk e-mailed the staff that they "would make that difficult decision now so we'll never have to do it again." Earlier this month, Musk sent the workers Returning to the Company I had no choice but to cut down another 7 percent of its full-time employees and many more contract workers and contractors. "There is no other way," he said.

The cuts have sparked new doubts on Wall Street that Tesla can turn into a reliably profitable car business, and its share has fallen more than 20 percent from its high of 2017. Musk's problems have also spread to other parts of his empire: Tesla's recent mass dismissal came the same week that SpaceX had announced it would quit 10 percent of its employees and said it needed to "become a leaner company."

Musk has shown few signs that the timetable is slimmer. It ended in 2018 as it had begun with an international flight: a private business trip to Shanghai.


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