As first noted by Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Fortune Brainstorm Tech, Apple revealed this week in its quarterly U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing that Jobs spent $127,000 in travel expenses on his private Gulfstream V jet. That's quite an increase from last year, when Jobs took a leave of absence due to health issues, the chief executive spent just $4,000 on air travel.
"The Company entered into a Reimbursement agreement with its CEO, Steve Jobs, for the reimbursement of expenses incurred by Mr. Jobs in the operation of his private plane when used for Apple business," the filing reads. "The Company recognized a total of $127,000 and $143,000 in expenses pursuant to the Reimbursement Agreement during the three- and six-month periods ended March 27, 2010, respectively."
In the past, Jobs' travel expenses have been taken as a sign of big things to come. In early 2008, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty noted Jobs' air travel costs surged 170 percent, foreshadowing forthcoming business deals for the international launch of the iPhone. In one quarter alone in the fall of 2007, Jobs spent $550,000 on air travel.
Huberty noted that Jobs was "integral" to any negotiations with foreign cellular providers for iPhone contracts. She theorized that the extra travel was a sign Jobs was meeting with companies to close deals.
Those deals have paid off in the years, since, with last quarter's record setting 8.75 million iPhone sales the best ever for Apple. Sales increased at the start of 2010, even though it was not a holiday quarter, based on the strength of the iPhone overseas and expansion to new carriers.
Elmer-DeWitt noted that Jobs was known to have traveled to the East Coast to meet with print media executives to pitch the iPad before it was released. Jobs reportedly met with both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. However, the SEC filings did not detail what Jobs' travel expenses were related to, so it's unknown whether Jobs met with anyone else about any other upcoming Apple projects.