JUST STOPPING BY: A US Air Force jet parked at Christchurch International Airport.

The identity of the mystery passenger of a United States Air Force jet at Christchurch airport has been revealed.

Plane-spotters had a field day this week with the sighting of a sleek, sparsely-marked Gulfstream Aerospace jet at Christchurch International Airport.

The plane, reserved for high-ranking dignitaries and military staff, brought General William M Fraser III, commander of the US transportation command, Scott Air Force Base, the US Embassy confirmed today.

The general is on his way to Antarctica for a routine familiarisation tour for US Government officials who have Antarctic program responsibilities.

Fraser is travelling with a party of civilian and military officials and is expected to be on the ice for three to four days.

US websites say the aircraft is capable of cruising at 51,000 feet. Features include enhanced weather radar, autopilot and head-up display for the pilot.

The Air Force equips the C-37A with a basic crew of two pilots, one flight engineer, one communications systems operator and a flight attendant. It can carry 12 passengers.

Fraser has extensive war and humanitarian relief operational experience. During Operation Enduring Freedom he led an intelligence fusion organisation that provided direct support to combat staff.

Source: Stuff co nz