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13 March 2019, 10:38 | Updated: 13 March 2019, 10:39
Drones are now banned from flying within 5km of airports following the disruption at Gatwick in December.
New legislation has been brought in this morning, extending the previous zone from 1km.
Drone sightings at Gatwick in the run up to Christmas caused around 1,000 flights to be cancelled or diverted over 36 hours, affecting more than 140,000 passengers.
London Heathrow and Dublin Airports have also been forced to suspend flights due to drone activity in recent weeks.
There were 125 near-misses between drones and aircraft reported in 2018, up 34% on the total of 93 during the previous year.
Just six incidents were recorded in 2014.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "The UK has been consistently at the forefront of legislation to tackle drone misuse.
"All drone users should be aware that flying a drone within 5km of an airport or over 400ft is a serious criminal act, one which could put lives at risk, and risks penalties ranging from significant fines to a life sentence."
Anyone caught recklessly or negligently endangering an aircraft with a drone can be handed a prison sentence of up to five years.
The intentional use of a device to commit an act of violence at an airport which could cause death, serious personal injury or endanger safe operations could result in life in prison under the Aviation and Maritime Security Act.