(The Post Millennial) – In an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” Dr. Anthony Fauci stated that it is unlikely Americans will be flying without masks anytime soon.

“I also wanted to ask you about what the airline executives said this week about masks on airplanes,” said “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl. “They — several of the top, you know, CEOs of the top airlines said that on an airplane, you are actually safer than you are in an ICU, that the protection with the filtration system they have. They were suggesting there really isn’t much of a need for a mask on an airplane.”

“Are we going to get to the point where we won’t have to wear masks on airplanes?” Karl asked.

“I don’t think so,” replied Fauci.

“I think when you’re dealing with a closed space, even though the filtration is good, that you want to go that extra step when you have people — you know, you get a flight from Washington to San Francisco, it’s well over a five-hour flight. Even though you have a good filtration system, I still believe that masks are a prudent thing to do, and we should be doing it,” he continued.

Karl’s questioning comes after Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly told a US Senate panel on Wednesday that “masks don’t add much, if anything” in the fight against the spread of the virus on airplanes, according to Fox News.

Ranking member Sen. Roger Wicker asked Kelly and fellow industry chiefs about air quality on planes, asking “Will we ever be able, do you think, to get on an airplane without masks?”

“The statistics I recall is that 99.97% of airborne pathogens are captured by the [high efficiency particulate air]filtering system, and it’s turned over every two or three minutes,” Kelly said, regarding air quality on aircrafts.

“I think the case is very strong that masks don’t add much, if anything, in the air cabin environment,” Kelly said. “It’s very safe, and very high quality compared to any other indoor setting.”

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker expressed a similar sentiment when pressed by Wicker.

“I concur. The aircraft is the safest place you can be – it’s true of all of our aircraft. They all have these HEPA filters and the same airflow,” he said.