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26 Nov 2019

15 years of progress - exploring the origins of Leon and FDS OPS

15 years may be just a short period of time for some, but in terms of software development, these are ages. Over those years we have transformed ourselves from a small in-house software to a globally operating studio with a client base of over 200 companies. And during that stretch there was one partner with us constantly – FDS OPS.

Leon & FDS

FDS is an internationally recognized flight support & dispatch company, operating also as a certified training facility for dispatchers. From flight planning, IFR flights, VFR flights to ground arrangements, they serve every possible task with a dedicated focus and attention. Working 24/7 and providing full operational support around the world, FDS’s representatives don’t shy away from responding to the most unusual requests and needs of their clients, conducting operations all over the globe, including jungle airfields of Brazil and military bases in the middle of ocean, for which proper arrangements definitely go beyond duties of a regular airline's dispatcher.

When we heard about big announcements coming from FDS OPS this autumn, we decided to investigate the current situation at our long-time partner. Meeting with one of co-founders of FDS, Tomasz Pazdej, happened to be a great opportunity to discuss this, as well as to go on a sentimental trip to the very origins of both FDS OPS and Leon Software.

Leon’s first customer (and first challenges)

We know it may sound a bit cliché, but at the beginning there was simply an idea. When starting FDS in 2004 alongside with other pilots, Tomasz has found the contemporary availability of flight scheduling software severely lacking. Switching from the whiteboard and Excel spreadsheets was not an easy task, as the available solutions could not meet requirements of FDS team. Because of that, FDS decided to go a different route and began the cooperation with Paweł Kruk to create software for that specific purpose.

Paweł Kruk, CEO of Leon Software: We were young, with a strong pilot background and heads full of ideas. Being invited by Tomasz and others, we started working together on an application that would supplement FDS in their day-to-day operations. You can say that FDS was, in fact, Leon’s first customer.

At its inception, one of the biggest advantages (and drawbacks at that time, which will be explained later) of Leon was its SaaS delivery model that stood in the exact opposition to more popular retail applications (installed on each computer, with data stored locally in many cases). In today’s business, cloud computing has solidified its role and significance. At that time however, we were just scratching the surface of new possibilities the web technology was about to bring to wider audience. Aviation companies were hesitant to dive straight into the unknown, with potential concerns about the security and the availability of service. It took a few years for the industry to fully realise the potential of this new approach and when it finally happened, Leon was already there, way ahead of the competition.

"There is a saying among the FDS team that if there is no flight in Leon, then there is none at all. Leon has become the main platform for flight planning and dispatching at FDS.” 


Tomasz Pazdej, FDS OPS Co-Founder
: There is a saying among the FDS team that if there is no flight in Leon, then there is none at all. Leon has become the main platform for flight planning and dispatching at FDS. After supplanting the whiteboard completely in 2007, new features still arrive, some of them due to suggestions of the FDS team.

Even though Leon in its early days was quite simplistic, focusing mostly on basic aspects of dispatcher’s work, very soon after the application was created, customers of FDS began asking about “this new piece of software everyone was raving about”. With a large market gap to be covered, it was clear that the in-house-based solution wouldn’t be enough to efficiently address all of our clients requirements. At that point, there was no turning back, as Leon started to gain traction on the market, becoming a separate company with its own agenda.

The present and future of FDS OPS

Although we went separate ways when it comes to the development process of Leon long time ago, the cooperation between FDS and Leon continues to shine.

Tomasz Pazdej: Thanks to Leon we don't get mislead in the amount of changes we face every hour. It clearly supports us in coordinating and planning our work as we can see the current schedule, future flights and current actions to launch. Leon not only facilitates our operational work, but also makes our contact with customer very cosy and comfortable for both sides, ours and clients. Its means less phone calls, less emails, less questions, less work - all data is processed in Leon. We simply love it and we show to every client how beautiful ops life is with Leon on board.

FDS team has also shared with us some of their plans for the nearest future that include preparations for the next season, expansion to new markets, as well as a new marketing communication strategy.

Tomasz Pazdej: We are preparing for a celebration of 15th anniversary and we want to play big. New visual identification and website we are working on, hopefully will underline FDS role in the sector and will assist to reach new levels in sales and clients satisfaction. We would be more visible in the social media and LinkedIn. We will launch partnerships, expand to new markets, convince global entities that one still can find a cheaper solution rewarding their trust in double.


For more information about FDS OPS, please visit their all-new website.

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