Due to the recent pandemic outbreak of Corona the Dutch Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT), enforcement body for EC 261/2004 considers it important to clarify how certain aspects of the Regulation are interpreted:
Care and assistance
EC 261/2004 offer important rights to passengers even during this outbreak. When flights are cancelled or there are long delays, passengers have right of information on their rights and have right to care and assistance. For cancelled flights passengers must be offered the choice between refund and re-routing (alternative flight or later date).
ILT considers the outbreak of corona as extraordinary. Even circumstances where airlines cancel flights within the 14 days period due to economic and environmental consequences of operating flights with only a small number of passengers on-board are considered by ILT as extraordinary.
Note that in individual cases a civil court can decide otherwise.