Could XH558 stay at Doncaster indefinitely?

The Vulcan to the Sky Trust revealed that Avro Vulcan B.2 XH558 will remain at its current home. Could it stay at Doncaster as the trust wanted?

Will Vulcan XH558 stay at Doncaster? After months of negotiation, the Vulcan to the Sky Trust (VTST) has revealed that Avro Vulcan B.2 XH558 will remain at its current home, the now defunct Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA), until at least the end of 2023. While not confirmed, there is a chance the former RAF delta-winged bomber could remain at the former RAF Finningley indefinitely.

In happier times –XH558 on the ramp at DSA during the halcyon day’s of ‘her’ second coming in 2014…
In happier times –XH558 on the ramp at DSA during the halcyon day’s of ‘her’ second coming in 2014… KEY-Jamie Ewan

The airport was wound down by owners Peel L&P in November 2022 due to the site's reduced financial viability. It had looked as if XH558 would be effectively homeless after the end of its lease with Peel in June this year. Announcing the news in its March 31 update, VTST said: “We can now confirm that we have been having positive discussions over the past few months exploring the future for the Vulcan including whether there can be any opportunities for the iconic aircraft to remain in Doncaster for a longer period. Whilst these discussions are ongoing, we are pleased to confirm that Peel L&P has agreed to extend our existing lease until the end of the year.”

‘558 at Doncaster in 2021 while undergoing maintenance…
‘558 at Doncaster in 2021 while undergoing maintenance… KEY-Jamie Ewan

At present the aircraft remains outside – and has done since the VTST vacated its former Hangar 3 home following the expiration of its lease in January 2019. There’s no word on whether the aircraft will be maintained in ‘live’ condition – although it’s believed to have undertaken its final engine runs as recently as March 19.Similarly, the trust’s other aeroplane, English Electric Canberra B.2 WK163 – the August 1957 world altitude record-breaker – remains outside at Doncaster, with no prospect of the hoped-for return to flight on the immediate horizon. Although not specified, it’s thought that it too will remain at DSA.

Canberra B.2 WK163 joined the VTST stable in July 2016…
Canberra B.2 WK163 joined the VTST stable in July 2016… VTST

Should it become ‘non-live’, XH558 — for all its popularity as the last flying example — might become ‘that static Vulcan’. Given its history, the same will never be true of ‘163. To some, this may seem sacrilegious, but the Canberra's future arguably needs assuring even more than 558’s. With Doncaster Council considering long-term plans to potentially lease the recently closed airport from Peel L&P, the question remains – what does the future hold for both?

What does the future hold of XH558?
What does the future hold of XH558? KEY-Jamie Ewan