The current Corona/Covid-19 crisis has hit airlines hard, and many airlines are hit so hard that they in some cases have to cancel all of their flights. The airlines have never experienced such a situation before, and have of course had to cancel many of their flights at very short notice. Under normal circumstances, air passengers in Europe would be covered by EU regulation described in EC261. This regulation safeguards airline passengers' rights in relation to delays and flight cancellations.
The entire aviation industry is some of the worst affected by the Corona crisis, and while airlines have been forced to cut back on their expenses, airlines have also appealed to the EU and governments for state aid. In addition, they have also appealed for a suspension of the EC261 regulation.
Due to the current Corona situation, the EU has seen the importance of these exceptional circumstances to rules regarding compensation for flight delays and flight cancellations. In their published clarification of guidelines, the EU has come to the conclusion that the current Corona situation should be considered force majeure. This means that if an airline cancels an airplane within 14 days of departure, then the rights of passengers in this area are waived because the Corona crisis is considered force majeure.