In 2004, SIA began non-stop trans-Pacific flights from Singapore to Los Angeles and Newark, utilising the Airbus A340-500. These flights marked the first non-stop air services between Singapore and the USA. The Singapore to Newark flight holds the record for the longest scheduled commercial flight, with a flying time of about 18 hours each way. Singapore Airlines has converted its five Airbus A340-500 aircraft from a 64 Business Class/117 Premium Economy Class configuration to a 100-seat all- Business Class configuration for its routes to Newark and Los Angeles.
At a Cabinet meeting on 22 February 2006, the Government of Australia decided not to grant fifth freedom rights to Singapore Airlines on flights from Australia to the United States. Singapore Airlines had argued that transpacific flights from Australia suffered from under-capacity, leading to limited competition and relatively high air fares. The move was seen as a measure taken to protect Qantas from increased competition. SIA had encountered such protectionist measures in the past when SIA was shut out from the Torontomarket after complaints from Air Canada, and was forced to stop flying Boeing 747-400s into Jakarta in the wake of protests from Garuda Indonesia when it could not use similar equipment to compete.
On 6 April 2012, Singapore Airlines phased out the last 747 in its fleet after 40 years of service. A final round-trip commemorative flight was operated from Singapore to Hong Kongwith flight numbers SQ747 and SQ748 respectively. As well as an extended flying time, special meals, performances and inflight celebrations, passengers were given well stocked 747 goody bags.