THE pilot of missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 deliberately killed himself and his passengers by turning off the oxygen supply, an air accident investigator will tell experts.
Airline boss Ewan Wilson also believes there have been five other suicide tragedies involving commercial jetliners - which aren’t linked to terrorism - in the last 30 years.
Ill-fated flight MH370 disappeared with its 227 passengers from 15 nations and 12 Malaysian crew members while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 this year.
Engine failure, sabotage, terrorism and even faulty air traffic control have all been blamed for sending the plane off course.
But, Mr Wilson will tell aviation experts in Britain that pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah planned the tragedy as part of an “ultimate post-mortem triumph”.
The Kiwi Airlines boss believes the dad-of-three locked his co-pilot Fariq Hamid out of the cockpit, then shut off all communication and turned the aircraft around.
He fears 53-year-old Shah then depressurised the plane - causing the cabin crew and passengers to die from hypoxia once the oxygen supply had run out.
Mr Wilson believes the pilot then made eight different course changes before finally allowing MH370 to fly on auto-pilot for the last few hours of its journey into the southern Indian Ocean.
The air accident investigator says Shah either ran out of oxygen or re-pressurised the Boeing 777 plane before guiding it to its unknown final resting place.
Incredibly, Mr Wilson has found five previous fatal flights which took the lives of 422 passengers and crew which he believes were also caused by suicidal pilots.
They include Mozambican Flight TM470 from Mozambique to Luanda in 2013 and go back as far as a Japanese domestic Flight 350 in 1982.
Mr Wilson has now travelled from New Zealand to Birmingham to discuss his findings with various experts.
And he is calling for the aviation industry to ensure that pilots and cabin crew are psychologically fit to fly.
He said: “There is a fundamental desire to ignore the mental health issue in the aviation industry, so the parties do not want to be named.
“We will have a constructive discussion about mental health screening within aviation.
“We have shown why hijacking by a passenger or accidental depressurisation are highly unlikely scenarios.
“By a process of elimination, this leaves pilot suicide as the only other serious option in our analysis of what occurred on March 8.
“Our research indicates there have been five previous incidents of murder/suicide in commercial flights over the last three decades or so, accounting for 422 lives.
“The sad addition of MH370 would bring that number to 661.
“Our research indicates that the number of lives lost through pilot murder/suicide in commercial airlines over this period far exceeds similar statistics related to lives lost through accidents caused by flight crew drug or alcohol use.
“Pilots are human and susceptible to the same problems as anyone else. They perform a stressful job and are under significant pressure to maintain their expertise and professional standing.
“Soon after the disappearance of MH370 rumours of problems in Shah’s personal life surfaced – rumours about the state of his marriage and his disenchantment with the Government’s treatment of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.
“Four months on from the disappearance of the flight, investigators still regard him as their chief suspect.”
Mr Wilson, who is a commercial pilot, also said he believes the crew and passengers of Flight MH370 are lost forever.
He added: “The Australians will spend a lot of money on the search but I don’t think we will ever find the missing aircraft.
“It would be nice to give families of those on board closure, and I know there are lots of reasons that families – as a result of grief and the lack of debris – are easily swayed by conspiracy theories that the aircraft is lying on some island.
“But I don’t think it is. It is lost forever.”
The Kiwi Airlines boss has met with Shah’s brother-in-law and widow but said both have rejected his findings that the pilot was suicidal.
He added: “They did not agree. They said it wasn’t a suicide and feel strongly that it was some other cause.
“Shah’s brother-in-law said he believed the plane was shot down near Diego Garcia.”
The search for the missing plane is being led by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.
A spokesperson said: “At the request of the Malaysian Government, Australia is leading the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
“While it is impossible to determine with certainty, all the available data indicates the aircraft entered the sea close to a long, but narrow, arc of the southern Indian Ocean.
“The complexities surrounding the search cannot be understated. It involves vast areas of the Indian Ocean with only limited known data and aircraft flight information.”