The authors report on pulsed lateral epitaxial overgrowth of aluminum nitride films on basal plane sapphire substrates. This approach, at temperatures in excess of 1150 °C, enhanced the adatom migration, thereby significantly increasing the lateral growth rates. This enabled a full coalescence in wing regions as wide as 4–10 μm. Atomic force microscopy and cross-section transmission electron microscopy were used to establish the reduction of threading dislocations in the lateral growth. Cross-sectional monochromatic cathodoluminescence and photoluminescence measurements confirmed the improved optical properties of the laterally overgrown aluminum nitride films.