Despite the requirement by several airlines that passengers wear face masks while traveling, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it will not make face coverings mandatory on planes.

The agency’s administrator, Stephen Dickson, made the declaration to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Wednesday, saying the FAA will leave the requirement up to individual airlines.

Dickson told the committee that the FAA will instead turn their focus to “aviation safety,” leaving coronavirus safety guidelines and regulations up to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Our space is aviation safety and their space is public health," Dickson told the committee, adding that there will “not be regulatory mandates” for face masks.

Dickson was faced with pushback from Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), among others, who said, “Is this, like, a philosophical thing with you folks. I just don't get why you wouldn't want this to be mandatory.”

Delta, United, and American are requiring passengers to wear face masks during check-in, on planes, and when deplaning.

Passengers wear face masks after their flight arrived at Heathrow Airport in London Passengers wear face masks after their flight arrived at Heathrow Airport in London Photo: AFP / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS