Affiliations: Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, ON, Canada
Corresponding author: Ruben E. Perez, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, ON K7K 7B4, Canada. E-mail: Ruben.Perez@rmc.ca.
Abstract: Innovative solutions from aircraft manufacturers and radical changes from operations are required to maintain airlines’ economic viability while simultaneously mitigating current pressures on the air transportation system due to increasing passenger demand, cost of fuel, and greater emphasis on environmental efficiency. For long–range routes in particular, a possible solution to mitigate these concerns is to design aircraft for shorter ranges and operate them using intermediate stops or stages. This paper explores the tradeoffs in design and operations that arise from a coupled multi-objective optimization approach to aircraft design and staging allocation as applied to a real-world route network. The tighter integration between the design of the aircraft and its assignment results in smaller and lighter optimal aircraft configurations which shift route operations to higher levels of efficiency by aggregating the effect of changes in design range, route staging and cruise Mach numbers. Fuel burn and operating cost savings up to 38% and 22% respectively are possible, as compared to a reference aircraft of similar technology-level. Significant decrease in fuel burn comes at a penalty of increased flight time up to 12% of total time. However, some of the optimal configurations provide significant reduction in fuel burn and cost with negligible time penalties. Possible adverse environmental effects arising from staging could be mitigated by the configuration changes found for the optimum staging aircraft and their significant reductions in fuel burn.
Keywords: System of Systems, aircraft design, aircraft operations, intermediate stop operations, multi-objective optimization