The personal jet of filmmaker Peter Jackson is involved in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
A spokesman for Jackson confirmed today that the plane had been chartered and was being operated out of Perth.
The Gulfstream jet has not been donated to the search operation but the director has personally approved its use, the New Zealand Herald reported
The spokesman for Jackson, who has a personal fortune of more than $510 million according to BRW, declined to say what payment is being made for for the jet. It is managed by the international aviation charter service Execujet in Wellington.
The spokesman would not comment on why the Gulfstream G650 was being used, except to say it had exceptional range that would be an advantage given the remoteness of the search area. The aircraft was advertised for charter.
‘‘Over the years, all of Peter’s aircraft have been available for charter and been used by a number of private clients,’’ the spokesman said.
The Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre, which is co-ordinating the search, said a civilian jet was being used as a communications relay for military aircraft searching for the Boeing 777. It would not comment further, Radio NZ reported.
The commercial aircraft co-ordinating communications is due to be replaced by an Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail aircraft.
The airborne early warning and control aircraft can monitor both ships and aircraft at long range, maintaining surveillance over a surface area of 400,000 square kilometres at any given time.
The arrival of the Wedgetail comes as Britain's defence ministry said it was deploying a nuclear submarine, HMS Tireless, and a survey ship, HMS Echo, to the search zone 1850km west of Perth.
The Trafalgar-class submarine will help the search for MH370's black box flight data and cockpits recorders, while HMS Echo will assist in the search for the remnants of the missing passenger jet and is expected to arrive on Wednesday.
The Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre could not be reached for comment on whether an Australian submarine would be deployed, although the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, visited submariners at HMAS Stirling naval base this week.
Jackson bought his Gulfstream G650 in March 2013 for about $80m.
The G650 flies faster and further than any aircraft used by the New Zealand air force.
Its top speed of about 1140kmh is close to the speed of sound (1234kmh), and it has a range of 12,960 kilometres, allowing non-stop flights between Wellington and Los Angeles.
Jackson, 52, has made his fortune directing, producing and writing some of Hollywood’s most successful films, including The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit films.
Tom Allard and wires