Correction as requested
Posted on November 23rd, 2015

Dr. Tilak S. Fernando

I refer to the undermentioned article which appeared in  Lankaweb, as far back as September 2014, titled ” On his bike all the way to the UK” about the late Arthur Alvis’ sole experience as a Sri Lankan traveling to London  on  a ‘push bicycle’ .

In the text of the article  I had mentioned about his airline experience as well. Arthur was a good friend of the writer and the  writer had to go by what had been intimated to him while Arthur was alive! In fact the writer travelled for the first time to Sri Lanka in on one of  the charter flights Arthur Alvis operated in 1972  and at a fair of  around £112 pounds or so.

During the writer’s association with Arthur Alvis, the writer had gathered so much of information about his  life’s achievements  and experiences  etc,  conveyed to the writer in person, some of  which pertaining to air travel business  has been reflected on the said article.  However, after all this time, the writer has received an email from Mr. John Joshua who appears to be discontent with some of the facts and disputing the article wholesale calling  it “completely wrong”  and  requests the writer to put that in the right perspective!

In view of the above, his email is reproduced below  with the article for readers to come to their own conclusions whether it is completely wrong.  The writer sincerely hopes it is justified by this action and Mr. Joshua will now be happy !

Whilst regretting any inconvenience to Mr Joshua it has to be said that since the person in question is not alive, the writer had  to go by what was said by the late Arthur Alvis as well as  the living statements of Mr Joshua.

The writer wishes that Mr. Joshua should have taken the opportunity  immediately to correct any errors with regard to his comments on the airline industry ( no one disputes the fact that he was a pioneer with regard to charter flight operation from UK  to Sri Lanka )  as there is provision for such comments in the web portal .see  Susantha Wijesinghe’s comments  in the website on August 15, 2014 at 5.37 .However hope this clarifies  the issue.

Facts are sacred, the comment is free.

( 23 November 2015)

Mr. John Jusha’a email: 

Dear Dr. Tilak S. Fernando,

I refer to your article written in September 2014, titles On his bike all the way to the UK!”  The information given in this article is completely wrong. I, John Joshua, was a pioneer of the charter flights from London to Colombo, and Mr. Arthur Alvis was my agent, operating one charter flight. He did not operate 5 flights. It was I who operated 5 flights for 5 years, and Mr. Alvis only operated one. I pioneered 2 flights in the summer, and 3 in December, under the patronage of the Ceylonese Social Club. The fare to Colombo from London was 815 pounds, and no Sri Lankan could afford this. I broke the monopoly of two airlines and got a fare of 105 pounds. I was backed by the late chairman of British Airways, who paid for the legal battle, where we established that the poor Sri Lankans could not afford to pay such a high sum of 815 pounds. Partakers of the flight had to be a member for 6 months before the date of departure. Membership was handled by the civil aviation authority.

There are 2 living witnesses to this story, who I think you should contact and verify this information from.  The first is Mr. Lakshman de Mel, who I do not have contact details for. The next is Mr. Mohan Tennakoon, whose contact number is 0777289045.

I trust you will rectify this article.


Thank you

One Response to “Correction as requested”

  1. Nimal Says:

    I remember Mr Joshua who ran a travel company and Mr Arthur De Alwis who cycled to UK from SL.I remember meeting Arthur at his home near the student centre in London in 60s.

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