No, Elon Musk is not planning to build a private airport in Austin

The Tesla CEO calls the plan ‘silly’.
Ameya Paleja
  • Elon Musk has moved the bulk of his business operations to Austin, Texas.
  • He owns a private jet, but a private airport seemed too much.
  • What he desires is an additional runway at Austin's commercial airport, though.

Elon Musk, who has moved the base of the bulk of his companies to Texas, has denied reports that he is looking to build a private airport outside the Austin area in the state, Business Insider reported.

Unconfirmed news reports that Musk, the world's richest person, was looking to build a private airport have been circulating for the past week. Big ticket expenditures by billionaires for private comfort or pleasure are not unheard of. Jeff Bezos, the number two on the list of the world's richest people, is spending $485 million on a superyacht which also required the dismantling of a World War II relic bridge until the plan was scrapped last month.

Musk moving base to Texas

The news of a private airport was not a complete surprise considering that Musk has been working over the years to move all his businesses to Texas. According to Business Insider's report, after plans to set up a Tesla Gigafactory in the state, Musk has not only moved operations of SpaceX to Boca Chica but also removed himself from the state of California, where he was residing earlier and held multiple properties.

In December 2020, Musk's Boring Company bought a plot of industrial land in Pflugerville, a suburb located to the north of Austin. Earlier this year, another report stated that the Boring Company was planning a tunneling test site in Bastrop, which happens to be just 24 miles (38 km) away from the Giga factory.

Local news site Austonia had reported that the airport could be located near the Bastrop site, and work was reportedly expected to begin soon.

Musk says Texas needs an airstrip

When the news broke out, we reported that building an airport required permissions from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as well as local clearances. Was it really worth Musk's time to get into all this extra work, when Austin is already serviced by not one but two airports?

Located just five miles (eight km) from Downtown Austin, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has two runways and three helipads but is only the third busiest airport in the state of Texas. The Austin Executive Airport is located 14 miles (22 km) from Pflugerville. With a Gulfstream G650 private jet at his disposal, Musk can simply land wherever he deems appropriate, rather than go through the hoops to build another airport, all for himself.

Taking to Twitter, Musk said, "Not true. Tesla is 5 mins from Austin International airport. Would be silly to build another private airport." He did, however, add that the commercial airport needed another runway since Austin was growing fast.

Apart from Musk, other tech companies have also shifted their base to Texas. Although Austin has been a popular destination for tech-related companies for decades, the coronavirus pandemic has seen a greater rush to the area, Business Insider said in its report.

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