Skycore Aviation has been working continuously in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for over 10 years.  As an international provider of helicopter personnel, Skycore has sent air crews, mechanics, logisticians and trainers to support helicopter programs all over the world.  Our personnel understand the culture, appreciate customs, and learn communication styles of the countries where they work.  Their acclimation is essential for both their individual success and Skycore’s ability to deliver a managed helicopter program.

With our experience, we hope to provide an outlook on living and working in Saudi through a series of articles.  These articles will benefit fellow rotary wing personnel and others working in Saudi and similar Middle Eastern countries.  They can also be used as a reference point for living and working in other countries.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is a large country, approximately 830,000 square miles with vast deserts, mountains and coastlines.  The country has a population of approximately 33 million people and an estimated 37% are foreign nationals.  Petroleum and petrochemicals dominate the Saudi economy, but the country is working to develop other industries through investment, infrastructure improvements and government regulations.

The capital, Riyadh, is the country’s political, financial and administrative center.  Riyadh is an amalgamation of conservative Saudi traditions interspersed with modern influences.  Jeddah represents the country’s commercial capital and has worked to strengthen its international image.


Islam dominates Saudi culture, business and government.  The observance of religious ritual takes precedence over all other aspects of life.  Muslims pray 5 times daily, punctuating the day with 20-30 minute periods during which everything including business stops.  The weekend is Friday and Saturday since Friday is the Muslim holy day.  During Ramadan all Muslims fast (no eating, drinking, smoking or chewing gum) from dawn to dusk and work no more than 6 hours a day.

Saudi Arabia is the custodian of Islam’s two holiest sites – Mecca and Medina, a duty the government and Saudi people carry out with honor and respect.  Mecca is the destination of Hajj, the pilgrimage that all Muslims are obligated to make once in their lifetime (if they are physically and financially capable).   Each year, during the five-day period of Hajj, over two million Muslims travel to Mecca from around the world.  The responsibility for the custody of these holy sites, as well as the Hajj pilgrims, shapes the religious nature of the country.

Mecca Saudi Arabia

Pilgrims in Mecca during Hajj.

The family and tribe are the basis of social structure in Saudi Arabia and the responsibility for family is fundamental within the society.  Families tend to be large with close knit extended family.  The family often represents the social network for its members where assistance and support is provided in times of need.  Family members will often work together where trust is of primary importance.

Respect and honor are also extremely important to the culture. Respect is exemplified by how Saudis greet each other.   Men are addressed by their title (e.g. doctor, professor) and first name.  As a foreigner, you will be called Mr. or Mrs. and your first name.  Honor is shown by the caution taken before expressing doubt to a person because it can be interpreted as a question of one’s dignity.

Skycore Aviation

Skycore Aviation is an international helicopter personnel services and UH-60 Black Hawk provider (  Our knowledge and experience enable Skycore to provide personnel and turnkey solutions for helicopter programs tailored to meet our customer’s operations, maintenance and training needs.  To stay atop of the rotary wing industry, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.