PLANS to return another historic jet bomber to the air by 2018 have been reassessed by the team behind the restoration of Bournemouth Air Festival favourite Vulcan XH558.

Engineers from the Vulcan to the Sky Trust wanted to restore to flight the English Electric Canberra WK163, a jet-powered aircraft which broke the world altitude record in 1957, in time for the 2018 RAF centenary celebrations.

However, following restructuring at the trust - including moving the Vulcan into a new permanent home - the 2018 Canberra deadline may not be met.

WK 163, which set a world altitude record of 70, 310ft, last flew in 2007. Today there are only five known to be flying in the world.

Meanwhile, the Vulcan, which proved itself a crowd favourite at successive Bournemouth Air Festivals, landed for the final time in 2015.

The team that returned the Vulcan to flight in 2007 says it will be focusing on preserving her as a ground-running aircraft. As such, fans will get to hear the Vulcan’s engines fire into life during special exhibition taxi runs at its South Yorkshire base.

The Vulcan will also be rehoused, from its current hanger at Doncaster airport to a smaller facility at the same site.

Vulcan to the Sky Trust chief executive Dr Robert Pleming said: “This and other savings will allow the trust’s annual financial commitments to be cut by around 30 per cent, putting us on to a more sustainable basis for the future.

“For the time being, all our resources will be focused on XH558. Only when her care is secured for the long-term will we continue to develop Vulcan to the Sky Trust into a world-class guardian of British jet-age aircraft.

“As part of the transformation of Vulcan to the Sky Trust, we will set up the Canberra restoration project as an independent activity with its own fund-raising campaign, but this means that our ambition to return WK163 to British airshows in time for the RAF centenary celebrations in 2018 may not now be possible.”