MH370 flight, which went missing in March 2014 with 239 people on board, was downed by the pilot in a murder-suicide plot.
The Beijing bound Malaysia Airlines jet went missing on March 8, 2014, after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.
“My understanding from the very top level of the Malaysian government is that from very, very early on here they thought it was a murder-suicide by the pilot,” Abbott, Australia’s prime minister at the time, said in a show that will air in full later on Wednesday.
Australia played a large role in the 12,000 square kilometer (4,630 square mile) search in the Indian Ocean, the largest in aviation history, which came up empty.
“I’m not going to say who said to whom but let me reiterate — I want to be absolutely crystal clear — it was understood at the highest levels that this was almost certainly murder-suicide by the pilot,” Abbott said in an excerpt from the Sky News documentary released ahead of broadcast.
A two-year international effort led by Malaysia, China and Australia to carry out a roughly $130 million (€120 million) underwater search in the Indian Ocean which ended in January 2017. A US exploration firm Ocean Infinity launched a private hunt the following year but that too ended after several months of scouring the seabed without success.