Former accident investigator Steven Wallace speaks to circumstances if flight path was pre-programmed into the computer.
The pilot and first officer of the missing plane, both of them Malaysian, have come under particular scrutiny in the search for clues. Investigators say that whoever flew the plane off course for hours appeared to know what they were doing.
But officials have so far reported no evidence to tie the pilot and first officer to the plane's disappearance.
Supporting the case that whoever took the plane off course had considerable aviation expertise, The New York Times reported that the aircraft's first turn to the west was carried out through a computer system that was most likely programmed by somebody in the cockpit.
An aviation expert, writing an op-ed for CNN.com, floated the idea last week that whoever changed the plane's course was an expert.
The person who programmed the change of course would have been somebody "knowledgeable about airplane systems," The Times reported, citing unidentified American officials.
The information has increased investigators' focus on the pilot and first officer, the newspaper reported. CNN wasn't immediately able to confirm the report.
Asked about the report Tuesday, Malaysia Airlines Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said: "As far as we're concerned, the aircraft was programmed to fly to Beijing. That's the standard procedure."
But he didn't rule out the possibility the flight path had been reprogrammed.
"Once you're in the aircraft, anything is possible," he said.