By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA(CBS) — The head of US Airways sees Philadelphia as a hub if it decides to start nonstop service to Asia.

US Airways President Scott Kirby is telling employees in an internal communication the airline is looking ahead to possibly starting service to such locations as Beijing and Istanbul from Philadelphia within the next five years.

US Airways spokesman Todd Lehmacher says it really will depend on the economics and fuel prices, and, the status of the airline’s fleet of planes.

“We do have aircraft coming on line – additional wide-body aircraft – in the next couple of years. But we have to be really smart about where we fly those resources. Our current longest flight in our system is Philadelphia-Tel-Aviv,” said Lehmacher.

Lehmacher says US Airways has ordered wide-body Airbus A350s which will be the workhorses for long-haul flights. But those won’t be delivered until 2017 and the airline’s management, at that time, will decide if the economics make sense.

He says US Airways received government approval to fly from Philadelphia to China back in 2008, but gave the certification back in 2009 because of the economic downturn.