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Utilizing business aircraft for expansion

How Segall Group lands more deals using business aircraft

When Baltimore-based Segall Group became first-time business aircraft owners in 2013, the commercial real estate firm took delivery of a milestone aircraft, the 4,000th Model 36 Beechcraft® Bonanza® and expanded its footprint and services in the Mid-Atlantic region.

“Essentially, we have hired a team member that can provide aerial transportation,” said José Santana, Segall’s senior vice president of retail sales and leasing who also serves as the company’s chief pilot.

Andy Segall (center), CEO and José R. Santana (right), Senior Vice President of Retail Sales & Leasing and Chief Pilot, receive the keys to a milestone aircraft, the 4,000th Model 36 Beechcraft® Bonanza®, from Alex Chisholm (left), Beechcraft Regional Sales Director.

The Bonanza G36, a six-seat piston aircraft, proved a reliable servant for company executives who work more efficiently above the heavily-traveled highways of the Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas.  Segall Group uses aircraft to conduct site visits and client meetings while developing shopping centers and brokering real estate deals for numerous national retail and restaurant companies.

After leasing aircraft for a few years to optimize time for the company’s employees and clients, the Segall Group began to explore aircraft ownership. Founder and CEO Andy Segall and his father, Chairman Mark Segall, are also pilots. Their research led them to the Bonanza G36.

Part of the allure of the Bonanza G36 to Segall’s decision-makers was ample cabin space for passengers to conduct business between destinations. Another important consideration, Santana said, was finding an aircraft that matched the feel of Segall’s brand and image.

“When clients come with us to the airport, the aircraft has such a presence on the ramp.” José Santana, Segall’s associate vice president of retail sales and leasing

Aviation surveys have revealed the importance of time savings to business aircraft travelers, and Segall Group is no different.  Having a company aircraft allows the business to shuttle clients to multiple sites in one day and minimizes the time executives spend out of the office for meetings.

“It allows you to avoid spending the day in a car due to traffic volume and congestion,” Santana said.  “In the past, we might have a 45-minute meeting somewhere, but the round-trip travel time would be six hours. While you can remain productive in a car with a cell phone, it’s just not ideal.  Now, if we have a meeting in Richmond (Virginia), we can get there in an airplane in 40 minutes, have the meeting and be back behind our desks that afternoon.  Before, you spent the day there, and it’s really not that far. That’s the type of efficiency the airplane has created.”

Much of Segall Group’s real estate holdings are in Maryland and Virginia, with some in Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  Since acquiring a business aircraft, the company has expanded its geographic reach.

“We have one client who we have started doing work with in the Carolinas, which we have not previously tackled,” Santana said.  “When you’re not hostage to an airline schedule, that’s a project or task you’re comfortable taking on.  We can get in and back in one day without really thinking twice about it.”

Segall Group’s expanded area of activity

Before purchasing the Bonanza G36, the Segall Group conducted a financial analysis to measure the benefits of aircraft ownership.  A factory warranty and the convenience of manufacturer-owned maintenance facilities aided the decision making.

“So far the sales experience, the ownership experience, the maintenance experience—everything that Beechcraft has provided—has been stellar.” José Santana, Segall’s senior vice president of retail sales and leasing