The no-fly zone for drones around airports is to be extended following the disruption at Gatwick in December, the government says.
From 13 March it will be illegal to fly a drone within three miles of an airport, rather than the current 0.6-mile (1km) exclusion zone.
The government also said it wants police to have new stop and search powers to tackle drone misuse.
Gatwick was shut for more than a day after drone sightings near the runway.
It caused chaos for travellers, affecting more than 1,000 flights and about 140,000 passengers.
Since then airports have been trying to improve their procedures to detect drones, but they continue to see illegal flights near their perimeters.
In January departures at Heathrow were temporarily stopped after a drone was reportedly sighted.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “The law is clear that flying a drone near an airport is a serious criminal act.
“We’re now going even further and extending the no-fly zone to help keep our airports secure and our skies safe.
“Anyone flying their drone within the vicinity of an airport should know they are not only acting irresponsibly, but criminally, and could face imprisonment.”