FASTCATS will not resume any time soon — due to a lack of demand in foot passenger travel.

The County Press got the lowdown in an exclusive interview with Wightlink's chief executive Keith Greenfield this morning.

He revealed the ferry operator had made substantial losses and it would be a 'marathon not a sprint' to get through the pandemic, to ensure all services can be retained.

He said: "We have made substantial losses during the crisis so far during the time of year when we would usually make our revenue. We need to make sure we survive and emerge in good shape to protect routes and services."

Wightlink furloughed just over half its staff during the coronavirus crisis, and is now bringing more back into service with the Yarmouth to Lymington route coming back into service.

Read what he said about the Yarmouth Lymington crossing.

All three Yarmouth ships will be rotated, and Mr Greenfield revealed that the previous engine problem — which meant the route couldn't operate at a certain wind level — has now been fixed.

He said there were no current plans to resume the FastCat service, but he hoped it would be back some time this summer.

He said the levels of foot passengers are only 15 per cent of the normal level.

Mr Greenfield said: "Hovertravel is maintaining the Ryde to Portsmouth link until demand increases, and they have plenty of space. There is a low level of demand.

"We are keeping this under review and hope to resume the service at some point this summer.

"South Western Railway trains are only seeing ten per cent of normal passenger levels, so there is not huge demand for train connections."

He said car ferry travel was definitely picking up, and the best way to book was still online.

However, there had been huge demand on the phone, and he said more staff are now manning the phone lines, so customers should find it easier to get through.

Ticket offices will remain physically closed for now, as will the retail outlets.

Wightlink currently has just over half its staff furloughed, but this is unwinding gradually as the services resume.

The Fishbourne to Portsmouth route is moving to a full two-ship service on July 6, with hourly crossings seven days a week.