DHL Express is taking legal action to prevent being locked out of San Antonio International Airport in Texas over an alleged lease violation, according to the San Antonio Express News.

It reports the international logistics giant has sought a court injunction against the city of San Antonio that will allow the company to continue operating at the airport.

The airport reportedly threatened to lock out DHL Express because the company no longer conducts air cargo express operations at the site.

In court documents, DHL Express said a lockout would substantially disrupt DHL’s international distribution chain, resulting in delayed delivery of medicines, machinery, documents, laboratory samples, and time- and temperature-sensitive shipments.

“Any closing of a single DHL location like SAT (San Antonio International Airport), even for a day, will result in lost profits that are difficult, if not impossible, to calculate,” DHL added.

The newspaper reports the dispute began about 18 months ago, even though the parties had reached an agreement that had prevented any lockout without adequate notice. DHL said it was trying to resolve the alleged defaults when it filed suit.

In an August 2020 letter, Airport Director Jesus Saenz Jr. informed the company it had defaulted on its lease because it was not operating any flights at the airport. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that DHL’s leased premises only be used for “aeronautical activities,” Saenz explained.

A DHL manager responded that it was not in breach of the intended use and asked Saenz to rescind the default notice. Saenz refused in an October 2020 letter. “Because DHL is not operating flights at SAT, and instead is merely receiving, sorting, and distributing cargo that is being delivered by ground transport, it is no longer ‘conducting air cargo express operations’ at this location,” Saenz said.

He added that the airport has to conduct “aeronautical activities” because it receives federal funding under the FAA’s Airport Improvement Programme. The programme provides grants to public agencies for the planning and development of airports.

The parties were not immediately available for comment.

DHL Express uses Amerijet International, Atlas Air, ABX Air, Mesa Airlines, iAero Airways, Kalitta Air, Kalitta Charters II, and Polar Air Cargo in the United States as its partner airlines.