A US pilot has apologised after a mid-flight homophobic rant was accidentally broadcast to air traffic control.

James Fritzen Taylor, who works for Southwest Airlines, was flying between Austin and San Diego in March when it is believed a button for the cockpit microphone was hit by mistake.

Air traffic controllers in the Houston area heard him complaining about cabin crew, calling them “f**king homosexuals” and grannies.

He was also heard referring to a gay flight attendant as a “fag” and calling Houston cabin crew members ugly and fat.

Last month, the story surfaced in the Houston Chronicle, which reported that Mr Taylor had been suspended without pay. He has now been reinstated.

The union representing Southwest Airlines flight attendants said it was considering filing a charge with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over the remarks.

Mr Taylor has now sent a written apology to Houston flight attendants, KPRC Local 2 reports.

“I deeply regret the derogatory remarks I made and the hurt I have caused. I take full responsibility for those comments,” he wrote.

“It was truly insensitive of me and I would like all of you to know that from now on, I will show nothing but my utmost respect during my interactions with all employees.”Please know that this event has forever changed me and I hope that others can learn from my mistakes.

“I have learned a much-needed lesson to be more sensitive of others and I hope you will see me as a more tolerant and considerate person.”