AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) _ KLM Royal Dutch Airlines posted a 24 percent profit drop in the latest year, blaming Asia's financial crisis and increased competition on its lucrative European and North Atlantic routes.

Analysts said the results were somewhat below expectations, and KLM shares opened 5.4 percent lower early today on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.

Net profit fell to 456 million guilders, or $221 million, from 603 million guilders a year ago.

Sales were virtually steady at 13.33 billion guilders, down from 13.36 billion guilders a year ago.

KLM said results were hurt by the financial crisis in Asia, increased competition, especially on the European and north Atlantic routes, and a pilot strike at U.S. partner Northwest Airlines last September.

Because of uncertainties in the world economy, KLM did not give an outlook for fiscal 2000.