Aircraft sizing, route network design, demand estimation and allocation of aircraft to routes are different facets of the air transportation optimization problem that can be viewed as individual “systems,” since they can be conducted independently. In fact, there is a large body of literature that investigates each of these as a stand-alone problem. In this regard, the air transportation design optimization problem can be viewed as an optimal system-of-systems (SoS) design problem. The resulting mixed variable programming problem cannot be solved all-in-one (AiO) because its size and complexity grow exponentially with increasing number of network nodes. In this work, we use a nested multidisciplinary formulation and the Mesh Adaptive Direct Search (MADS) optimization algorithm to solve the optimal SoS design problem. The expansion of a regional Canadian airline’s network to enable national operations is considered as an example.

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