According to Daily Mail, the three suicide bombers tried to pass through the security x-ray machines at the entrance of the airport but were intercepted by a hero policeman who wrestled with one of them shortly before he detonated his explosive.
This caused a shoot-out between security personnel and the two others before blowing themselves up at the airport which is ranked the third busiest in Europe.
Turkish police sources have attributed the attack to ISIS, but the group is yet to claim responsibility for the sad event.
An official said most of the victims in the bomb attack at Istanbul's main airport were Turkish nationals but foreigners were also among the casualties.
Earlier, Justice Minister, Bekir Bozdag confirmed that the airport had been attacked at 7.50pm GMT - 9.50pm local time.
"A terrorist at the international terminal entrance first opened fire with a Kalashnikov and then blew himself up," he said while speaking to parliament in the country's capital of Ankara.
Turkish airports have security checks at both at the entrance of terminal buildings and then later before entry to departure gates. But nevertheless, the airport has long been seen as a vulnerable target, according to the BBC.
The entrance security checks for cars are limited, which left the airport exposed to what is being called a 'major, co-ordinated attack'.
Similarly, five people including two police officers were wounded in Turkey's southeastern province of Diyarbakir on Tuesday when a bomb exploded as an armoured police vehicle was passing, security sources said.