F L Y I N G T O S I L I C O N V A L L E Y
Silicon Valley is a region in the southern part of the San
Francisco Bay Area of Northern California. It corresponds
roughly to the geographical Santa Clara Valley, although its
boundaries have increased over the decades.
The area has been called Silicon Valley since the early
1970s as a result of the high proportion of semiconductor,
electronics and computer manufacturers based there. More
recently Silicon Valley has become a global center for high
technology, innovation, and social media. Many high profile
companies in the tech sector are based there, not least
Apple, Google, Facebook, Intel and Oracle.
The volume of business aviation in the region has
increased as the tech sector has grown over the decades.
The area is well-served by operators, FBOs and handlers
both at the main international airports of San Francisco and
San Jose and at smaller airports such as Palo Alto and
Hayward Executive Airport. These smaller regional airports
provide viable alternatives to the larger commercial airports
and in some cases may be closer to Silicon Valley itself.
San Francisco International Airport is the city’s main
and largest airport. It is close to the city centre
and main financial district of San Francisco, but is
29 miles from Silicon Valley. With more expensive
handling and landing than other airports, there may be
better options available in the region for a private flight
to Silicon Valley.
Alternatives include Oakland International Airport.
Although it is located further away from Silicon Valley,
Oakland International Airport has lower fees than San
Francisco International Airport. The Norman Y. Mineta San
Jose International Airport may be a more suitable option,
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being closer to Silicon Valley and less busy than Oakland
and San Francisco. Signature Flight Support and Atlantic
Aviation have FBOs at San Jose airport, which has a
business terminal with private and corporate aircraft located
away from the main terminals.
However, San Jose Airport does still cater to scheduled
service commercial flights. When flying to Silicon Valley
some may prefer smaller and more private airports, of which
there are several.
San Carlos Airport is a reliever for San Francisco
International Airport and is located 18 miles away from
Silicon Valley. It’s runway is suitable for turboprop aircraft
only. Despite this, there are around 65,000 revenuegenerating
flights at the airport every year. The airport has
more than 25 aviation related businesses, including FBO
services from Rabbit Aviation Services.
Similarly to San Carlos Airport, Palo Alto Airport is
suitable only for turboprop aircraft, but is closer still to
Silicon Valley, around 10 miles away. Nearby Moffett Federal
Airfield is a civil-military airport in Santa Clara and is mostly
used by NASA. Half Moon bay, south of the city is almost 40
miles away but has a runway long enough for small jets and
some medium sized jets.
Reid–Hillview Airport is in the eastern part of San Jose
and is a reliever airport for San Jose International Airport.
Reid Hillview is suitable for light jets as well as turboprops.
Another suitable option for larger corporate jets may be
Hayward Executive Airport, which has no curfew and
commercial airliner traffic and features as a recently-built
6,300 square foot terminal with support offices, a 30,000
square foot hangar and 3.5 acres of ramp area.
San Jose, Silicon Valley:
view from downtown to
the north and San Jose
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