Millionaires & Billionaires

Private jets flood Sun Valley for mogul camp

The flood of private jets pouring into Sun Valley for the annual media mogul's conference is likely to overcrowd the local airport, officials say.

As the Allen & Co. conference kicked off at the Sun Valley Resort in Idaho, officials at the nearby Friedman Memorial Airport expected up to 200 private jets landed Tuesday, making it one of the biggest private jet events of the year.

A private jet lands at the Sun Valley airport, joining dozens of other private and corporate jets already parked there, in Hailey, Idaho.
Rick Wilking | Reuters

Additional planes are projected to come and go throughout the week, as billionaires, tech tycoons and media titans head to the five-day dealfest and ideas conference that's become known as "billionaire's summer camp."

Rick Baird, airport manager for the Friedman Memorial Airport, said the peak for the private jet swarm is likely to be Friday and Saturday, when the conference starts to wrap up and attendees return home. He said the airport could see more than 250 takeoffs and landings on both Friday and Saturday.

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That could lead to a traffic jam and parking problems on the tarmac. Last year, the airport had only one empty parking space during the private jet crush of the conference—and this year's total is expected to be higher.

"It all depends on the size of the aircraft," he said. "If there are a lot more large corporate jets, then we could run out of room."

Baird said that if the airport runs out of parking spaces, they will have to be repositioned to nearby airports such as Twin Falls or Salt Lake City.

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The Allen & Co. conference, which started as a media-finance event, has become one of the most elite conclaves in business, with more than 300 titans of tech, media, investing and other industries in attendance. This year, Tesla's Elon Musk is on the guest list along with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Apple's Tim Cook. Other regular attendees include Rupert Murdoch, Jeff Bezos and Bob Iger.