Google terminal in works at Silicon Valley airport

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Google jets are getting a home in an US$82-million (S$103-million) private terminal being built to cater to executives coming and going from Mineta San Jose International Airport in Silicon Valley.

Construction was expected to begin late this year on the facility, which has been landed the slightly off-mark nickname of "Google Airport".

"It is a significant private development and Google is the main tenant, but it is not their airport," Mineta spokesman Rosemary Barnes told Agence France-Presse on Wednesday.

United States-based Signature Flight Support is to build the executive terminal on a 12ha section of former parking lot in a partnership with Blue City Holdings, which represents "the personal aircraft of Google principals". The airport is about 19km from Google's main campus in the city of Mountain View.

The terminal will feature catering and other amenities along with seven hangars, five of which will be reserved for Google aircraft including Boeing 737 and Boeing 767 models like those used for commercial passenger flights.

Ms Barnes estimated that five or six jets could be fit in any of the hangars.

Silicon Valley-based computer company Hewlett-Packard has had a private terminal at the San Jose airport for nearly 30 years, according to the spokesman.

"We've seen great demand in Silicon Valley from companies wanting to house aircraft," Ms Barnes said.

The contract with Signature is still being finalised but includes a 50-year lease with annual rent of US$2.6 million along with guarantees regarding fuel purchases and hiring of local workers.

The new terminal was expected to be completed by the middle of 2015.