The first Boeing 787 Dreamliner on a North American airline took off from Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport Sunday, news sources report.
United Flight 1116 took off at 7:28 a.m., marking the first 787 flight for the carrier. United is the first North American airline that owns the 787, which is partially constructed from lighter carbon fiber composite materials rather than metal, Houston Chronicle reported.
The new type of plane will save airlines roughly 20 percent in fuel compared with similar-sized planes, Boeing claims. The plane is also said to be more comfortable for passengers. Boeing says it is pressurized to 6,000 feet above sea level, rather than 8,000 on typical jets, Houston Chronicle reported.
Chicago-based United's largest hub is at Bush Intercontinental, and it will store its growing Dreamliner fleet there, Los Angeles Times reported.
"This is a very exciting day for United Airlines, a day we've waited a long time for, and we are delighted to have the 787 here," Jeff Smisek, president and CEO of United, said during an early celebration at Bush Intercontinental, Houston Chronicle reported.
Smisek said the Dreamliner is one of many planned investments to make United a better airline, Los Angeles Times reported.
"If you want to be the world's leading airline, you need to have the world's leading airplane and we have that today in the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner," Smisek said, as Houston Chronicle reported.