NEW YORK (AP) _ Cathay Pacific Airways announced Tuesday that it has placed a firm order with Airbus Industrie for 10 A330-300 aircraft and has taken options on another 10 of the wide-body planes.

The firm order is worth about $1.1 billion, and if all the options are exercised, the order would total about $2.2 billion, the Hong Kong airline said.

The first of the planes will be delivered in January 1995, with delivery scheduled to be completed in 1997.

The purchase is the largest single Airbus order by a Far Eastern airline, Cathay Pacific said. Airbus Industrie is a European aircraft-making consortium sponsored by the governments of Britain, France, West Germany and Spain.

''This huge investment demonstrates Cathay Pacific's commitment to Hong Kong and our confidence in the territory up to and beyond 1997,'' Cathay Pacific Chairman David Gledhill said, referring to the year when Hong Kong is scheduled to change from a British colony to part of mainland China.

''It also reflects our confidence in continued growth in the marketplace in Hong Kong and the Asian region.''