This paper presents an innovative optimisation method for aircraft fuselage structural design. Detailed local finite element analyses of panel buckling are further processed such that they can be applied as failure constraints in the global level optimisation. The high computational costs involved with the finite element analyses are limited by advanced use of surrogate modelling methods. This yields high flexibility and efficiency in the local level optimisation procedure and allows for efficient gradient based search methods as well as more costly direct search optimisations like genetic algorithms (GAs). The method is demonstrated on a composite fuselage barrel design case considering common structural sizing variables like thicknesses and stringer dimensions. Optimised barrel designs are obtained where the constraints that are derived from the panel buckling analyses are active. The total computational cost for the complete local and global level optimisation procedures is in the order of days on common-performance hardware.