Tesla, the American electric-vehicle company, spent $700,000 – the equivalent of some R9.2 million – on private-jet travel for its CEO, Elon Musk, last year, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.
Musk's jet, a R900 million Gulfstream G650ER, logged about 150,000 miles flying all over the United States, Europe, and Asia. The Post reported that some of the jet's flights were merely to get it from one side of Los Angeles - where Musk lives in a five-mansion compound - to another.
Musk's jet flew roughly 75 times last year to the San Jose airport, the closest stop to Tesla's headquarters in Palo Alto and car-making factory in Fremont, where Musk often said he was so busy he would end up sleeping among the machines. Dozens of other flights were made to airports near SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., and the battery-producing Gigafactory outside Reno, Nev.
Tesla said Musk never used the plane to fly between different spots in Los Angeles. But the jet would fly to meet him at a closer airport if, say, he began his workday at SpaceX's office on the south side of L.A. and the plane was on the north side, the company said. Some of these repositioning flights only went about 20 miles, the aircraft data show.
Tesla, known in the investment world for its prodigious cash burning, has turned a profit only three times in its history, and never on an annual basis.
In June, the company laid off 9% of its workforce, and it laid off another 7% earlier this month. In a letter to employees announcing the most recent layoffs, Musk said there wasn't "any other way."
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